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Kamigata-mai

Kamigata-mai was born and developed in the KamigataiKyoto-Osakajregion of Japan in the 16th century called Edo era. During this era there were few exchanges between Japan and foreign countries. Through this Edo era(1603`1868) Japan had been in peace and bloomed many original cultures, tea ceremony called Chanoyu, flower arrangement called Ikebana, woodblock print called Ukiyoe, minimal poem called Haiku and this Kamigata-mai. 

Kamigata-mai was based on the hdancingh tradition of Noh, Kyogen, Kabuki, and it also drew from the techniques of puppet movements in Bunraku.

Typically, Noh, Kyogen, Kabuki and Bunraku are performed by males, while Kamigata-mai is mainly performed by females. Sensitivity, delicacy and strength peculiar to females are additional ingredients in Kamigata- mai, and they add to the micro cosmos mainly developed by males.

Kamigata-mai is sometimes called Jiuta-mai. Because it is performed to the accompaniment of Jiuta which is the oldest form of shamisen (three stringed  instrument) music, also born and developed in the Kamigata region. Originally Jiuta is performed by a blind person in a small room, not on a broad stage.

Kamigata-mai was developed as a chamber art and enjoyed by patrons. They were highly aesthetically sensitive but few in number. So Kamigata-mai exhibits a sharp contrast to world-famous Kabuki-dance which is performed in a large theatre to the accompaniment of Nagauta which is theatre-oriented music. Thus, Kamigata-mai differs considerably from Kabuki-dance.

Kamigata-mai is performed in a subdued, tranquil and dignified way. Kabuki-dance is more animated, vigorous and sometimes even boisterous. In Kamigata-mai we place major importance to the external expression of onefs innermost sentiment.

Kamigatamai-tomonokai
Keiin Yoshimura

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