Saturday, October 23, 2004
Izumo-no-Okuni was, according to legend, originally a maiden from the Izumo Shrine, but she came to Kyoto and worked in the Pleasure Quarter as a Dancer and a Courtesan. She quickly became famous by dressing and acting like a man in her dances. These dances became very popular and many other women, and young boys of the Pleasure Quarter began to mimic her. Such was the popularity of these dances that the Tokugawa Shogunate banned both women and young boys from performing them. The dances, however, didn't die, and began to be performed by grown men. This was the origin of Kabuki. Now, Kabuki is an cherished performing art in Japan were men play both male and female roles.