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The History of Kabuki (2) / Transition to yaro; kabuki

Transition to yaro kabuki

The modern all-male kabuki, known as yarov kabuki (young man kabuki), was established during this period. After women were banned from performing, cross-dressed male actors, known as onnagata ("female-role") or oyama, took over.
http://www2.ntj.jac.go.jp/unesco/kabuki/en/2/images/img_2_03-01.jpg http://3.bp.blogspot.com/__zFxCqPcmaI/SdAcwXwLijI/AAAAAAAAAGM/3iuIt21sLgk/s320/image001.jpg
(Transition to yaro; kabuki)

Young (adolescent) men were preferred for women's roles due to their less masculine appearance and higher pitched voices compared to adult men. In addition, wakashu (adolescent male) roles, played by young men often selected for attractiveness, became common, and were often presented in an erotic context.
Along with the change in the performer's gender came a change in the emphasis of the performance: increased stress was placed on drama rather than dance. 

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1372/790526191_d99e0bb203.jpg
(Yaro Kabuki / Image)

Their performances were equally ribald, however, and the male actors too were available for prostitution (to both female and male customers).
Audiences frequently became rowdy, and brawls occasionally broke out, sometimes over the favors of a particularly handsome young actor, leading the shogunate to ban first onnagata and then wakashu roles. Both bans were rescinded by 1652.

By T.S. on May 27, 2010
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