20. KABUKI STAGE FROM FUNAKOSHI
An important Tangible Folk Cultural Property of Japan
Original location: Funakoshi, Daiō Town, Shima-City, Mie Prefecture
Type of Building: Kabuki Stage
Built: 1857 (ink inscription on wooden member)
Structure & form: Pantiled half-hipped roof at front, gabled roof at rear. Partly two storey,
Length (parallel to ridge): 9.1m Width: 10.8m
Protruding and pan tiled degatari on both sides of the building
Pantiled pent roof at rear:
Length (parallel to ridge): 10.8m Width: 2.7m
Greenroom/changing room with pantiled gabled roof attached on the left side,
Length (parallel to ridge): 5.3m Width: 7.3m
Built in 1857, at the end of the Edo period, this Kabuki stage was originally located in the precincts of a shrine in the fishing village of Funakoshi near Daiō Promontory in the Shima Peninsula. This building is comparatively large for a rural Kabuki stage of the period, having a total floor area of 240.3㎡.
The roof on the facade is half-hipped showing a large pantiled gable, crowned by an elaborate onigawara, (ornamental tile), placed at the end of the main ridge. By contrast, the roof at the rear is gabled with a small and simple onigawara.
This kind of external appearance clearly reflects a tendency in the design of stage buildings to emphasise the importance of the front facade.
The Chinese character “若” (youth） found on the onigawara and eaves tiles implies the existence of a traditional organization of young people associated with the establishment and management of this stage. The broad space created by the large posts and massive widely-spanning beams seems to convey the energetic power of the young people of the village.
The protruding bays on both sides of the stage are called degatari. The one on the right side is known as the tayuza and that on the left as the hanaza. There are three greenrooms located respectively in the projecting wing on the left side of the building (viewed from the front), and at the rear and in the loft of the stage building itself.
Most of the facilities needed for Kabuki performances are provided in this building: a revolving stage 5.4m in diameter, a stone-lined pit below stage (naraku), a diagonal elevated passage to the stage (hanamichi) with suppon (trapdoor) in the floor, a small elevating stage, and two overhead scaffolds etc.
The underground passage to the pit from the rear of the building has been added at Nihon Minkaen for the convenience of visitors. Originally, access to the pit was from the stage.