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The Traditional Art Form Nihon Buyo!

Nihon buyo can be described simply as a dance performed while wearing a kimono to traditional Japanese music.
Nihon buyo has been loved by the Japanese people for hundreds of years along with other Japanese art forms such as Noh (能), Kyogen (狂言), Kabuki (歌舞伎) and Bunraku (文楽).

This video, created by ANA Global Channel, features an interview with the Japanese Buyo dancer Rin Hanayagi.
We hope you enjoy learning about this beautiful art form which has been passed down for generations.

The Origins and History of Nihon Buyo

Traditional Japanese dances date back to mythological times. Since the Heian period (794 AD-1185 AD), dances such as Dengaku (田楽) and Sarugaku (猿楽) have been performed by the common people and later evolved into the popular art forms Noh and Kyogen.

The first official mention of Nihon Buyo in Japanese history was during the Edo period (1603 AD-1868 AD).
400 years ago, Izumo no Okuni (出雲阿国) started putting on kabuki performances in Shijo Kawara, Kyoto (京都の四条河原).
At the time, it wasn't considered proper for women to perform on stage and so she traveled the country, performing dressed as a man.
Her kabuki performances popularized dance throughout Japan.
During her interview in the video, Rin Hanayagi explains in detail about the history and origins of Nihon Buyo.

Nihon Buyo Schools

There are currently more than 200 Nihon Buyo schools in Japan, all with their own characteristic techniques and traditions.
The number of schools dramatically increased since the start of the Taisho Period (1912 AD-1926 AD) continuing to branch off into different styles of dance.
There are five main schools (五大流派, godairyuuha) which include the Hanayagi school (花柳流), Fujima school (藤間流), Wakayagi school (若柳流), Nishikawa school (西川流) and Bando school (坂東流).
The traditions and dances of the schools have been passed down for generations with the names of the schools taking on that of their successors.

Nihon Buyo Dancer Rin Hanayagi on Japanese Tradition

In the video, Nihon Buyo dancer Rin Hanayagi talks about her feelings towards Japanese tradition.
She talks of how her repeated training has increased her knowledge and has been drilled into her behavior.
She comments that would like to bring the spirit of Japan to the people through her dance and put on a performance that the viewers can enjoy.

At 3:03 in the video, Rin Hanayagi talks of how much thought and detail is put into her outfit, makeup, hairstyle, and more, to make it easy for the viewers to understand what kind of role she is trying to portray in her performances.
She wants to work hard to make sure that this beautiful and ancient art form is passed on to future generations and is not forgotten.

Nihon Buyo in Recent Years

Image of Buyo stage
Photo:Buyo

From the Meiji Era (1868 AD-1912 AD) to the Showa Era (1926AD-1989AD), and even today, the traditional art form is practiced by people all over the country.
Not only can one learn how to dance, but proper manners and etiquette are also taught during Nihon Buyo classes, making it a popular pastime for women and children.

There are also many fans of Nihon Buyo outside of Japan.
In recent years, the number of foreigners visiting Japan in order to take part in Nihon Buyo workshops and watch Nihon Buyo shows has been increasing.
Donning a kimono and trying out a traditional Japanese dance is a great way to remember your trip.

Summary of Nihon Buyo

Nihon Buyo performances are currently being held all over the country. We recommend checking out the Nihon Buyo Kyoukai (日本舞踊協会) website to find out what kind of performances are taking place.
If you're interested in Nihon Buyo, we highly recommend watching a live dance performance!
Don't forget to watch the video and enjoy watching a traditional Nihon Buyo performance! It can be seen from 11:51 in the video!

Written By
Sep. 15, 2020
Japan
坂崎 なお(Nao Sakazaki)
Interested in Japanese culture and traditions! I'll be introducing lovely scenery to you!
Nihon Buyo – A Traditional Japanese Dance That Has Been Passed Down for Generations. Introducing Rin Hanayagi, a Dancer of the Art Loved Around the Globe!
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