Glossary of Terms

Nihon Buyo:  Nihon means “Japan”; Buyo refers to Japanese dance

Kai:  means “association” or “organization

Nagauta:  literally means “long song”; is the genre of Japanese traditional music which accompanies the dance segments of the Kabuki drama; is lyrical

Hauta:   short love songs; popular in the late Edo period (1603-1868)

Kouta:  literally means, “little song”; can be sung in one minute, or up to three or four minutes at the most; accompanied by the shamisen; often performed by Geishas in music and dance

Geisha:  Female professional who is highly trained to entertain men in song, dance and conversation.

Kiyomoto:  genre of music; traditional form that accompanies Kabuki dances; has the highest level of singing (words and emotions) and least amount of percussion; is narrative.

Gidayu:  music that accompanies the Bunraku puppet theater (male) but also became popular when it was performed by women in concert halls without puppets.

Tokiwazu:  genre of music; traditional form that accompanies Kabuki dances

Sousaku buyo:  A more contemporary form of Japanese dance, sometimes in the style of ballet or modern dance.  Incorporates the traditional forms with new, creative ideas.

Iemoto:  The headmaster system which governs many Japanese cultural arts.  The Iemoto holds the title of headmaster of the art, and the position is attained through inheritance, marriage, or even adoption if no family successor is available to continue the artistic lineage.  Japanese classical dance falls under the Iemoto system.

Ryu ha:  School.  There are many different Japanese buyo schools.  Bando, Hanayagi, Wakayagi, Azuma, Fujima, Nakamura, and Nishikawa are among them.

Natori:  Professional stage name awarded to students who pass the qualifying dance exam(s) of their particular school;  the student’s name is a combination of the school name + part of the teacher’s stage name and part of a personal name selected for the student.

Yamatogaku: A newer genre of Japanese music developed in 1933 which incorporates Western styles of vocalization such as harmony, singing in round, and humming.  This modern style often features female vocalists, who are accompanied by shamisen and percussion instrumentalists.