• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What would a costume designer need to consider when designing for Ohatsu from Chikamatsu Monezamons play, Sonezaki Shinjuu, as performed in the kabuki style?

Extracts from this document...


Research Question: What would a costume designer need to consider when designing for "Ohatsu" from Chikamatsu Monezamon's play, Sonezaki Shinjuu, as performed in the kabuki style? Theatre Arts Research Investigation Word Count: 1747 What would a costume designer need to consider when designing for "Ohatsu" from Chikamatsu Monezamon's play, Sonezaki Shinjuu, as performed in the kabuki style? Chikamatsu Monezamon is Japan's most noted playwright, who while being a prolific writer, also pioneered kabuki theatre. The first of Chikamatsu's shinjuu or love-suicide plays, Sonezaki Shinjuu (The Love-Suicides at Sonezaki) focuses on the love of protagonists Tokubei, a 25-year-old soy shop worker, and Ohatsu, a 19-year-old courtesan, and eventual suicides as a result of the villainous Kueheji (Chikamatsu 39). While not his most famous work, it is upheld as a classic example of a shinjuu play and any designer wishing to costume for Ohatsu would need to familiarize himself with the characteristics of this particular genre and the traditional garb of an onnagata actor. Additionally, one must consider the restrictions placed on kabuki costumes during the Edo era with their effects on color and pattern and the specific requirements for Ohatsu's costume as detailed in the script. Kabuki is most well-known for historical and dance plays involving characters of the privileged, upper class and beyond - nobles, samurais, gods - with the elaborate costumes needed to denote their social class. Shinjuu plays however belong to the third category of kabuki plays, sawemono, which deals exclusively with domestic and every-day characters. ...read more.


Fig. 4. Diagram of the front and back of a kimono (Kimono Diagram). The katsura is also a very specific ornamentation. Each wig consists of individual strands of hair attached to a copper base which has to be redressed before each performance less it loses its form (Cavaye 81). It may be further adorned with flowers and ribbons and underneath should be placed a habutae - a type of cap used to contain an actor's own hair (Spencer). As for the obi, it functions only as a decorative belt for the kimono and itself must be held together with stiff interface material and fasteners (Marshall 104). During the Edo era, a female obi, such as what Ohatsu would wear, was standardized at the dimensions of 360 cm by 26.8 cm (Wiltshire 89) and became well-known for its broad width. There is also a specific knot idiosyncratic of onnagata characters called the darari-musubi (Fig. 5; Fig. 6) which is characterized by its length and two tails (Yamanaka 38-39). Fig. 5. Drawing of the traditional darari-musubi knot for tying a Japanese obi (Yamanaka 38). Fig. 6. Picture of two women in kimonos with the dararai-musubi knot shown from the back ("Dararai obi"). As previously stated, onnagata roles were played by males; although there was a push for females on the stage once Japan was occupied by the United States in the 19th century this never gained prominence. This gender issue makes the kimono even more important to a costumer if the actor for Ohatsu is casted per tradition. ...read more.


The most telling costuming reference however occurs when Ohatsu leaves the brothel to commit suicide with Tokubei. At this point the narrator says "Ohatsu is dressed for death, a black cloak dark as the ways of love thrown over kimono of spotless white" (51) which provides a clear indication to the color and outer garments necessary in the scene. It should be further mentioned that in the third scene Ohatsu "removes her tear-stained outer robe" (55). The description "tear-stained" could prompt a designer to show a change in the physical state of the "black cloak" from the previous scene. Meanwhile, the fact that Ohatsu is removing an article of clothing during the scene requires the costumer to prepare for the before mentioned, kikinuku technique. During the dress rehearsals called the so-keiko (Grestle 23), the costumer should pay close attention to ensure that these script requirements have been met and that the costumes do not hamper the necessary actions, something best ensured by consulting the director about blocking before costume construction. Kabuki theatre is an intensely visual and emotionally rich theatre form, known for elaborate and beautiful costumes. To then properly costume for a kabuki play, particularly for Chikamatsu's character Ohatsu, a designer must be aware of the characteristics of the shinjuu genre, an onnagata's traditional clothing, the restrictions placed on kabuki costumes with their impact on color and pattern, and requirements of the script. While Sonazaki Shinjuu, is relatively short, a large range of emotions are covered from despair to happiness in death and if a designer takes the above factors into consideration, the garments themselves might even embody this depth. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Fine Art, Design Studies, Art History, Crafts section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Fine Art, Design Studies, Art History, Crafts essays

  1. Do all the arts have features in common? What might these be?

    As Henri Matisse says, "creativity takes courage"5 because "all profoundly original art looks ugly at first"6, nonetheless people manage to like and accept the change. The type of art that reveals originality in an outstanding way is music. It is unbelievable how more and different music is created every year;

  2. Fashion Technology; Anthropometrics - Traditional scanning VS. Body scanning

    Journal of fashion marketing & management, 7(5), 306-332. Sweetland, R. (n.d.). Human anatomy - external, internal, interactiona, health and emotions Concepts. Retrieved 11 04, 2011, from Homeofbob: http://www.homeofbob.com/science/concepts/physicalLife/humanAnatomy/html Xu, B., Huang, Y., Yu, W., & Chan, T. (2002). Body scanning and modeling for custom garment fit. Journal of textile & apparel, technology and management, 2(2), 1-11.

  1. In the painting titled Domestic Happiness, by Lilly Martin Spencer, she brings out a ...

    The fact that her two children beat death and are living could be the reason that she shows such a great expression of love and care. After looking at the focal point, it is noticed that the children are not covered by the blanket that lies right beneath them.

  2. The Globe Theatre

    the performance and understand what it could have been like for actors and the audiences performing and watching at that time. When you visit the Globe Theatre you are expected to see the same exhibition and watch the same plays.

  1. How influential was Jan Van Eyck?

    For instance in the ?Crucifixion? the detailed rendering of the landscape as the view stretches towards the horizon does not relent. Therefore in the depiction of landscape Van Eyck shows due preoccupation with the detailed rendition not just of the foreground but also of the receding scenery.

  2. Natural and synthetic materials and dyes for clothing.

    Dyes are produced naturally or synthetically and can be applied at any stage of production. Natural dyes are sourced from plants, insects and minerals, and have provided civilisation with a way to transfer colour to fabric for thousands of years.

  1. The use of Kabuki Elements in a Performance of Bertolt Brehts The Caucasian Chalk ...

    Since the 1960s, these Kabuki techniques have been slowly incorporated into western theatre styles. At its core, the art of Kabuki lies in artifice and beauty. It is the beauty of Kabuki theatre I believe could revive a performance of Bertolt Brecht?s ?The Caucasian Chalk Circle?, which is why I believe this topic is worthy of study.

  2. Commentary on the Arnolfini Wedding by Jan Van Eyck, 1434

    The deep hues of yellow and green in the central man?s clothing complement the red and blue in the woman?s, and form the palette for the rest of the onlookers, a simple, pure combination of colors that contributes to the sense of order.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work