There is a legend behind how Japanese theatre began;

The Sun Goddess Amaterasu was sulking in a cave and the world was dark and cold. To lure Amaterasu out, the other Gods staged a dance in front of her cave.

Japanese theatre developed in the late 1300s. It combined poetry, singing, mime, dance and music to tell stories from Japanese history and legend.
A performance usually consisted of five main plays and lasted about eight hours. Every actor wore a mask

These performances were thoughtful and poetic. They reflected the importance of the ruler of Japan and the Shogun and his Samurai warlords.

These performances were staged on a bare polished wood floor, under a pointed roof. The background was of painted Pine trees. Often in performances there was music in the background, such as drums, flutes and a chanting chorus.

Between the five main plays were intervals, in the intervals were short sketches called "kyogen". These plays were usually very funny.

The Japanese Theatre often reflected on the Buddhist beliefs of the samurai, the warrior class that ruled Japan until the mid 1800's.
Every Samurai warlord employed his very own company of actors, yet they were still looked down upon..

The plays were written, composed, and choreographed by the actors themselves.

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