What is the difference between Kabuki and Noh?

Published by Hiromi Nishiwaki on

Hi! This is Lena Shiratori.  I am Multi Lingual Cultural Promoter.
I promote Japanese culture and items in multi ♠language♠.

Kabuki is classical stage drama performed only by men to the accompaniment of song and music.

It is characterized by a combination of rhythmical words, dancing, elaborate makeup and costume, and stage set.
Kabuki is written in kanji (歌舞伎) - 歌(sing) 舞(Dance) 伎 (Skill), and therefore, kabuki is translated as "art of singing and dancing". It is dynamic Drama.

Kabuki Actor Ichikawa Ebizō (Ichikawa Danjūrō V) in the play The Colored Reins of a Loving Wife (Koi nyōbō somewake tazuna)

Kabuki Actor Ichikawa Ebizō (Ichikawa Danjūrō V) in the play The Colored Reins of a Loving Wife (Koi nyōbō somewake tazuna)

On the other hand, Noh is also stage drama, however, actors wear mask, called "Noh Men" (能面), therefore, audience can't see the face of actors.  This gives audience the chance to understand the meaning of drama by  themselves. Unlike Kabuki, Noh Actors don't dance,  We could say Noh is more ”Static and symbolic, highly stylized.   

Noh is played mostly by men and it is to the accompaniment of recitative chants called Yokyoku and orchestra.
Orchestra consist of a flute, and three types of dreams. 

Kyogen has origin with Noh, and it was originally played between intervals of Noh Performance. They were  flourished  in 14th century and Kanami and Zeami played significant contribution for the development of Noh/Kyogen.

Kabuki, Noh, Kyogen are all designated as Unesco Intangible Heritage in 2008.

I recommend you to enjoy Noh at Kokuritsu Nogakudo in Shibuya and Kabuki at Kabuki-za, in Ginza.

Thank you!

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Office Flora Art Promotion





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Hiromi Nishiwaki

Office Flora "JAPANOPHILE " Promotion was founded as a Japanese culture Research firm in 2017. We provide exciting information on Japanese Art and Culture and offer intellectual excitements though the prism of Hiromi Nishiwaki. We provide deep insights about Japanese traditional culture and Art from a Western perspective while keeping the core concepts from the Japanese Spiritual and traditional values intact. Our mission is to contribute to world happiness and prosperity.

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