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Culture and Arts
Osaka has developed an independent culture having historically been a center of politics and economics. This includes traditional arts such as kabuki and bunraku; comedy culture such as rakugo and manzai; and manga and music.

Kamigata Kabuki      Bunraku      Kamigata Rakugo      Manzai      Manga      Classical Music      Jazz

Kamigata Kabuki
Kamigata is a name used to refer to the Kansai region. Taking place in the Edo period, Edo Kabuki is a bold style of theatre (aragoto) which involves a hero defeating a villian. Kamigata kabuki is a softer style of theatre (wagoto) that uses the red light district as a stage. For a number of reasons the number of public performances in Kansai decreased after WW2, but in recent times the number of kabuki performances has increased in places such as Osaka Shochiku-za in Dotonbori and Minami-za in Kyoto. Many are looking forward to the revival of Kamigata Kabuki. Kamigata Kabuki

Bunraku
Bunraku
*Picture offer (c) The Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau
Bunraku, along with Noh and Kabuki, is one of Japan's three main classical performance arts. Three elements make up the Bunraku stage: the Tayu, who recite the Gidayu-bushi; the musicians, who play the shamisen; and the puppeteers, who manipulate the puppets. Puppet theatre is often thought of as children's entertainment, but Bunraku deals with the adult theme of how people's lives are led by their social obligations. With its combination of artistry and entertainment it is a performance art unique to the world. In 2003 Bunraku was designated by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage.

BUNRAKU KYOKAI

Kamigata Rakugo
Rakugo is a form of Japanese verbal entertainment. The main characteristic of Rakugo is one person sitting on a stage telling a story doing all the dialogues by himself. Rakugo was invented 300 years ago. Kamigata rakugo's origins are thought to come from the original street performances of Kyoto's Tuyu no Garobei and Osaka's Hikohachi Yonezawa. Historically there were no rakugo theaters in Kansai, however, in 2006 the long-cherished "Hanjotei" opened and has attracted large audiences. Kamigata Rakugo
*Picture offer (c) The Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau

Manzai
Manzai
*Picture offer (c) The Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau
It is often said that "if you get two Osakans together, you get manzai." Manzai is a genre of entertainment that originated from Osaka, which has roots as a merchant town. Manzai is performed by two comedians, who entertain the audience through their humorous dialogue. Manzai is said to have started from the custom of giving speeches and dancing at new year celebrations.

Manga
Osaka marks a turning point in the history of manga, and much manga comes from Osaka. Osamu Tezuka who was known as "the god of manga", made his debut shortly after the end of the war in the Osaka Mainichi newspaper with "Maachan's diary". Graphic novels also came from Osaka. in 1957, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, born in Osaka, named his work a graphic novel, and in 1959 Takao Saito and Masaaki Saito created what is considered the first "graphic novel ". In 2005 the Osaka University of Arts started courses in character molding. The university has started other new endeavors such as publishing the magazine "University Manga". Manga

Classical Music
Classical Music
*Picture offer (c) The Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau
The first performance of Kansai Orchestra, the predecessor of the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra, took place in 1947 right after the end of WW2. Kansai Orchestra performed many movie music masterpieces, including Akira Kurosawa's "Rashomon".

Jazz
From the end of the Taisho era to the beginning of the Showa era, the Dotonbori area in the Minami (south) district of Osaka was where jazz flourished the most in Japan. The 1923 Kanto Great Earthquake was the event that marked the rise in popularity of jazz in Japan. To escape from Tokyo, many artists moved to Osaka. It is said that jazz was played throughout the city and the dance halls were always packed. Jazz


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