News & events > [Stockholm Exhibition] Hen on stage in Japan
04 Dec 2012 - 30 Apr 2013

[Stockholm Exhibition] Hen on stage in Japan

Actress in the role of geishan Izumiya Okuni. 1847-1850, Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861). Woodcut. The exhibition Hen on stage in Japan will be held from December 4, 2012 to April 2013 in the The Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities (Östasiatiska Museet) permanent Japanese gallery. A dozen idols in the form of woodblock prints from the Edo period (1615-1868) from the collections will be on display, as well as examples of popular culture in the form of periodicals with contemporary Japanese stage artists in theatre and music.
In Japan, there is a long history of men playing women on the stage. The most famous examples is the Noh theatre and kabuki theatre. In kabuki onnagata actors known as women's roles, and they can be seen on the wooden sections of the gallery. Also in Europe in the antique theatre and until the late 16th-early 17th century dominated the men on the stage.
The kabuki actor playing women make use of so-called cross-dressing. Clothing, cosmetics and body movements such as gestures are tools to play a woman on stage. This is not imitation, but about creating a new kind of beauty and power. Gender role, gender, visible just a role, a sort of playground, performance or masked.

View all Asia-Europe Museum Network members from Japan and Sweden.