In Japan, since 1629 all kabuki roles have been played by men, and the female impersonators were called onnagata. This tradition was immutable until the end of the 19th century, when Western theatre arrived to Japan and challenged traditional Japanese theatre in many ways. The most important question was women’s return to the stage, but different groups had different interpretations on women’s role and importance in society which will be discussed in detail. This paper focuses on the onnagata debate and the question of female-likeness (Mezur 2005), providing a summary of the history of onnagata from this aspect, and an overview of 20th and 21st century experts’ opinions.
How to cite: Theatron 16, 2. sz. (2022): 81–93.
Cím/Title (HUN): Férfiak és nők: az onnagata-vita jelentősége és hatása a kabukira
Cím/Title (ENG): Men and Women: the Effect and Influence of the Onnagata Debate on Kabuki
Keywords: Japanese theatre, onnagata, kabuki, female actor, gender