The Japanese people are well known for many things such as their myths, beliefs and the way they treat each other. The Japanese people are also known for their theatre and art. There are two main types of Japanese theatre, Noh and Kabuki. Both include beautiful costumes and of course, beautiful performers.

Some people think of geishas as women who simply sell themselves for entertainment, but they are much more than that. The idea that geisha were not respectable women started around the time of World War II; when American men stayed around the type of geisha who did not follow the strict training to become a professional geisha. But the real geisha are women who entertain tastefully, women who go through years of grueling training to call themselves geisha and mean it. The word geisha means someone who entertains, or an artist. It comes from “gei” meaning entertainer or performance and “sha” meaning person. In fact, geishas began around 1603 when two women entertaining soldiers pretended to be white warriors with white masks. Geisha are also sometimes thought of as women who talk to men just to make money. That couldn’t be farther from the truth though. Geisha go through many years of training in special schools. At those schools, they will learn the art of conversation, how to sing, dance and play the shamismen. A geisha also cannot just be able to do all of those though; she must be able to do them gracefully. Geisha perform in both Kabuki and Noh Theatre, but are more common in Noh Theatre. The difference between the two is that Noh Theatre uses masks and more acting, while Kabuki Theatre involves more dancing, and rhythm. Geishas don’t all sing and dance though, Tachikata is a dance performance, and Jikata is when a geisha sings or plays an instrument.

Onnagata are male performers who act in female roles in Kabuki Theatre. Some people think that this is very strange because women started Kabuki Theatre. Even though women started Kabuki Theatre they ended up being banned from it. A strange thing about Onnagata performers is that they wear enough makeup to fool the audience into thinking that they are beautiful women. Another strange thing about Onnagata performers is that they often perform romantic scenes with one another. Even though people only think about Japanese theatre with people, many people often forget Bunraku Theatre.


Bunraku Theatre involves the same plays and themes that Noh Theatre and Kabuki Theatre, but the only difference between them is the performers. Bunraku Theatre involves puppets that are 1/3 of the size of a real person. The difference between Noh theatre and Kabuki Theatre is that Noh involve masks, geisha and rhythm and that Kabuki use Onnagata and still uses rhythm. Bunraku puppets take at least months to make depending on how large they are or how they look.


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