While words may be a barrier to fully understanding an artistic performance abroad, Kabuki actor Ichikawa Ebizo on Thursday urged spectators from overseas to enjoy the traditional Japanese art for the beauty of its “form.”
“There is the language barrier. When I go abroad and watch performances there, even if I do not understand all the meaning, there is something that I can relate to,” Ebizo said at Kabukiza Theatre during an event of the 30th Tokyo International Film Festival.
It is the fourth straight year a special event featuring kabuki was held during the festival, which opened on Wednesday and runs through Nov. 3.
“Kabuki is a beauty of form and is tailored around the way one carries oneself, so it hinges on form as with, say, opera and ballet overseas,” said Ebizo, who has also performed abroad to showcase Japan’s art that dates back more than 400 years.
“I hope everyone will enjoy those aspects,” he said, adding that the unique Japanese music accompanying kabuki will also be something to watch out for.
He made his remarks prior to his performance “Otokodate Hana no Yoshiwara” as Goshono Gorozo, touted as the most chivalrous man in the capital of Edo.
Ebizo, one of the recognizable kabuki actors on television, said he will give his all in the night’s performance, seeing that many people from abroad are watching kabuki for the first time.
Kabuki features male actors wearing elaborate makeup and costumes.
In his performance, Ebizo’s Gorozo character tells his love story with courtesan Keisei. On his way to see his lover, he is seen being ambushed by men with a grudge against him and fights them off.
There was also a screening of “Gate of Hell,” a Japanese film that won the Palme d’Or, the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival, in 1954. The digitally restored version of the film was shown.