Hardship to be a Kabuki dancer as a woman

Dancing in Japan as an American, in the US as Japanese Neighbor took care of hotel business during the World War II Different learning style in Japan and the United States Both Japanese and American identities though Japanese dance Being a man through Kabuki Hardship to be a Kabuki dancer as a woman Do my best as a professional dancer

Transcripts available in the following languages:

100 pounds, I carried 100-pound sack every day before I put this costume to dance. Or else you can’t manage. It’s that heavy. Try it. It’s heavy. And you have to put the kanzashi – that big kanzashi – geta, and this costume and underneath, you have another costume on. So you have to practice carrying it. That’s Kabuki. That’s why it’s for men. A woman cannot do it. It’s very heavy.

So you have to practice carrying a sack of rice every day and see your power – how you could carry that. And then you have to try this on. And then you have to start thinking about your dance – the weight…there’s a lot of training you have to go through. But this Daiichi-sensei gave me this kimono because he stayed with us and he wanted to repay us back. So he gave us this costume.

Date: November 30, 2004
Location: California, US
Interviewer: Nancy Araki and John Esaki
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

arts dance kabuki

Nikkei Heroes: Trailblazers, Role Models, and Inspirations

Submissions accepted until September 30.

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