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The History of Kabuki (3) / The golden age

1673–1841: The golden age

During the Genroku era, kabuki thrived.
The structure of a kabuki play was formalized during this period, as were many elements of stylization. Conventional character types were determined.
File:SharakuTwoActors.jpg
(The two Kabuki actors Bando Zenji and Sawamura Yodogoro; 1794, fifth month by Sharaku)

Kabuki theater and ningyō jōruri, the elaborate form of puppet theater that later came to be known as bunraku, became closely associated with each other during this period, and each has since influenced the development of the other.

http://www2.edu.ipa.go.jp/gz/g1bun1/g12rks/g1rks2/g1r204.jpg
(Chikamatu Monzaiemon Playwrighter / Image)

The famous playwright Chikamatsu Monzaemon, one of the first professional playwrights of kabuki, produced several influential works, though the piece usually acknowledged as his most significant, Sonezaki Shinju (The Love Suicides at Sonezaki), was originally written for bunraku.

http://www2.ntj.jac.go.jp/dglib/edc_dic/images/dic_a/pict_041332.jpg
(Ichikawa Danjuro II / Image)

Like many bunraku plays, however, it was adapted for kabuki, and it spawned many imitators - in fact, it and similar plays reportedly caused so many real-life "copycat" suicides that the government banned shinju mono (plays about lovers' double suicides) in 1723.
Ichikawa Danjūrō, also lived during this time; he is credited with the development of mie poses and mask-like kumadori make-up.

By T.S. on May 28, 2010
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