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Great-Edo Entertainment  

Kabuki Special / Grand Sumo Special / Rakugo Special   

Illustration of the Prosperity of the Great Theaters (Oshibai Han'ei no Zu) Painted by Utagawa Toyokuni III 1859 (Ansei 6)

Kabuki Special Visiting a small theater to enjoy a performance by one's favorite actor

It is widely believed that performances of kabuki were commenced in Kyoto by a shrine maiden called Okuni in the early 17th century. Her origins lay in the region of Izumo (present day Shimane Prefecture). Later, kabuki came to Edo and was introduced to the city's population. It soon became a much-loved form of entertainment within the city. The urban masses eagerly flocked to theaters in order to see their favorite actors, thus kabuki's popularity brought together large and diverse crowds under a single roof.