Definition of kabuki in English:



mass noun
  • A form of traditional Japanese drama with highly stylized song, mime, and dance, now performed only by male actors, using exaggerated gestures and body movements to express emotions, and including historical plays, domestic dramas, and dance pieces.

    • ‘Onnagata, kabuki actors who specialize in female roles, embody an ideal of refined ultrafemininity.’
    • ‘The play even introduces elements of kabuki, shouted Japanese, and eleventh-century visuals into its overweening mix.’
    • ‘The Tokugawa Period gave rise to the bunraku puppet drama and kabuki theater, for which Chikamatsu wrote tragedies.’
    • ‘For every dignified traditional leisure activity like kabuki or Noh theater, there are sordid underground clubs where fetishes and fringe elements are offered and capitalized upon.’
    • ‘She studied traditional dance and kabuki in Japan but doesn't incorporate it into her work.’
    • ‘Mie is considered as a challenge for each kabuki actor and can be played only by experienced performers.’
    • ‘The fifth suite has Japanese kabuki actor Tamasaburo Bando executing a series of dances while Ma plays.’
    • ‘He wrote for kabuki as well as the traditional Japanese puppet dramas called bunraku.’
    • ‘Osaka prints are with a few exceptions of bijin prints exclusively designs of actors and kabuki scenes.’
    • ‘It was a new theatrical language, drawing on the Japanese traditions of noh and kabuki theatre, and combining them with influences from Western contemporary dance and literature.’


Japanese, originally as a verb meaning ‘act dissolutely’, later interpreted as if from ka ‘song’ + bu ‘dance’ + ki ‘art’.