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Japanese vocabulary


A small dictionary for better undestanding. What is the diferrence in traditional dance and fusion styles? What is geiko, maiko or oiran?

Buyō (舞踊) or Nippon buyō/Nihon buyō (日本舞踊) is a traditional Japanese performing art, a mixture of dance and pantomime. It is a refined dance style that has become an art form made for entertainment on stage.
The origins of this style is dated in the early Edo period (early 17th century). It is performed independently by specialists. Today mostly known as the style of dancing performed by geishas.

Nihon Buyō was formed from more influences. First part is from Kabuki Buyō, second from Noh and the third part of these dances comes from the japanese folk dances. Nihon buyo is influenced also from a mixture of European and American culture that is found in modern Japan.

Geisha (芸者), geiko (芸子) or geigi (芸妓) are traditional Japanese female entertainers who act as hostesses and performers on various events. They perform Japanese arts such as classical music, dance, games and conversation.


Traditional japanese Dance. There are several types of traditional Japanese dance.

- Kabuki (歌舞伎) is a classical Japanese dance-drama. Kabuki theatre is known for the stylization of its drama and for the elaborate make-up worn by some of its performers. We can find first infos about this art int the beginning of 17th century /1603/.


- Noh. The origin of the Noh Mai can be traced back to as far as the thirteenth century. Noh Mai is danced to music that is made by flutes and small hand drums. At some points they dance to vocal and percussion music. Noh Mai dances are put together by a series of forms. Forms are patterns of body movements that are done elegantly and with beauty.

There are six types of Noh Mai dances / Chu No Mai,  Jo No Mai, Otoko Mai, Kami Mai, Kagura, Gaku/. 

Costumes are a huge part of Noh Mai including the masks. The Noh Mai masks are thought to be the most artistic masks in Japan. 


- Bon Odori. Bon Odori is a dance performed during Obon festival. It was originally a dance to welcome the spirits of the dead. Every region of JApan has his own charakteristic dances. The movements and gestures in a bon dance often describes the history, work or geography of the region. For example, Tankō Bushi is a coal mining work song from Kyushu, and you can observe movements imitating digging, cart pushing and lantern hanging. Very famous is also Soran Bushi  a sea shanty, and the movements in the dance depict net dragging and luggage hoisting. Bon dances offen use different props, such as different kind of fans, small towels and wooden hand clappers - kachi kachi or straw hats with flowers for Hanagasa Odori.



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