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For many people, the mention of kabuki brings to mind images of exaggerated makeup on actors’ white-painted faces, beautiful kimono costumes and colorful sets with dramatic backdrops.

Then there are the distinctive standardized movements; classic poses (mie) expressing certain emotions; the precisely choreographed fights and swordplay (tachimawari); and styles of acting (kata), which are passed down through the generations of each family of performers.

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