Kabuki is a traditional Japanese performing art with a history dating back 410 years. In 2009, it was registered with UNESCO as part of Japan’s Intangible Cultural Heritage. The Kabukiza was born of a nationalistic revival of kabuki in the 1880s. By the late nineteenth century, Japan was finding its feet as a newly modernizing nation and, as such, was fearful of losing its cultural identity. Having been stricken by disaster and rebuilt several times; it reopened again in April 2013, following a three-year construction period.
The success of this development was cemented in 1887 when the Emperor Meiji hosted a kabuki performance. The erection of the Kabukiza two years later in 1889 was the next major step in this cultural sanitization of kabuki. The promoter was the journalist, Gen-ichiro Fukuchi, a political supporter of the new regime’s oligarchy in league with a prominent financier.
The Ginza Kabukiza was the first kabuki theater in Japan to use electric lighting, and boasted the biggest stage in Japan as well.
A composite facility with a 145m-high office block encompassing 29 floors above ground and 4 basement floors, the theatre itself retains the characteristic Momoyama-style architecture that it had before the rebuild, including a tiled roof, camber barge-board (Chinese cusped gables) and Japanese-style balustrades. A joint endeavor between Mitsubishi Jisho Sekkei Inc. and world-renowned architect Kengo Kuma, the design sought to embody the beauty of Japanese architecture. Inside the theatre, the latest technology has been used to replicate the raised seats in the gallery, so that the audience on the 1st floor, the second floor and the third floor can see the Hanamichi runway through the audience to the stage as well as the audience on the ground floor. And it was used for the much smooth move of revolving stage.
When you watch a kabuki performance, you will undoubtedly be captivated by the magnificent costumes, the unique acting, and many other aspects of this glamorous performing art. Earphone guides in English are available, providing explanations of the plot, characters, costumes, and props in time with the proceedings on the stage, so even non-speakers of Japanese can enjoy the performance with complete peace of mind.
This building tells you a lot of Japanese cultures definitely. Interesting? Please check it out!