Treatises, Prints & Programs / 演劇書と芝居絵

Printed materials have long been a part of theatre history in Japan. From spectacular scene illustrations to performance programs to actor portraits to training manuals for staging, lines, or music, prints have been used both in and beyond production, before and behind the curtain.

In this module we present illustrated essays on the uses and contexts of various types of print materials in the noh, kabuki and puppet theatres. We include interactive pages on how to read the elements of different types of historical kabuki programs (see Kabuki banzuke), a slide show of a scroll documenting an early-modern period noh public production, and many other topics. Specialized vocabulary terms are linked to glossary entries where full definitions and further examples of the terms are provided.

Contents of this Module

Kabuki Actor Prints
 Kabuki Playbills
 Noh Property Illustrations
 Noh Scene Illustrations
 Performance Scripts
 Portraits of actors, in character and out.
 How to read historical programs.
 Manuscripts on staging certain noh plays
 Depictions of characters and performance moments
 Written librettos and other scripts for professional and amateur performance
tsuji banzuke small image
Tsuji banzuke - one type of Kabuki playbill
(Click image to go to full explanation)



GloPAD image 1005522 
Scroll of 1850s noh performances
(GloPAD image 1005522)
(Click image to see slide show of all images and explanation of the event)


noh prop illustration page
Noh stage prop design, from the book
Ōkura-ryū tsukurimono hiroku


kōgyo print
Aoi no ue print from the series
Nōgaku zue
(GloPAD image 10067236)

kabuki actor print
Kabuki theatre print, from
Ōedo Nenjū Gyōji Shibai Ōbako Chōchin

(GloPAD image 1006918)


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