(From the publisher):
To be kabuki in Japan once meant to be outrageous, daring, flaunting convention. It was in sixteenth-century Japan, as Shakespeare was writing his masterworks half a world away, that the spirit of Kabuki theater was born out of a single woman's passions and dedication to her art. In Kabuki Dancer, Sawako Ariyoshi retells the story of Okuni, the legendary temple dancer who first performed among jugglers and freak shows on a stage along the riverbank in the heart of the imperial city of Kyoto. Blending the rhythms and movements of religious festivals with the words of popular love songs, she and her troupe became sensations. Their affairs and rivalries, infatuations and jealousies, were transformed into the very fabric of their performance, as it began its evolution into the classic drama of today. Against a backdrop of civil war, dynastic conflict, and social turmoil, Okuni and her companions and lovers, together with their audience of artisans, merchants, and aristocrats, struggled to survive the birth pangs of a glorious—yet sometimes deadly—new age. Based on fact, transmuted into powerful and moving artistic expression, Kabuki Dancer is at once a turbulent love story, a recreation of an exotic and colorful historical period, and an almost mythic representation of the miraculous moment in which an immortal art form appears.
Original title: 出雲の阿国 [Izumo no Okuni]
Genre: Fiction→ Historical→ Asia→ Japan