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Journeys in Japan on May 11 aired: Komatsu Kabuki Kids.

Charles Glover reports this travelogue to Komatsu, a city three hundred km west from Tokyo. It is located in The Sea of Japan to the west and the Mt Haku to the east. The city, known for its natural beauty, was founded in the early 17th  century. 

Lord Maeda Toshitsune is considered to have built up the area, in the fields of agriculture and politics, and is beloved by the local people. It once prospered as the center of silk-weaving industry.  The Kaga Yuzen dyeing technique is famous with its colorful design, all hand-made. 

Otabi Matsuri ( literally Travel Festival) is held every spring, with each district competing with exquisitely-decorated floats. Children's Kabuki is performed on the floats. It needs painstaking practice day after day. The words are so archaic that they can't be easily memorized. 

Mr. Glover pays a visit to Ataka Barrier Ruins, known as 安宅の関. It is a legendary site famous for Kabuki's premier place of Kanjin-cho or 勧進帳. The play starts as Benkei, a retainer who helps his master Yoshitsune to escape the rule of his broteher. Disguised as traveling monks,  Benkei cleverly gets them pass the Ataka check-point, but not before the interrogation.

The day of Kabuki performace has come. Putting on costumes and wigs as well as make-ups, the children are getting ready for the live performance.

"Komatsu has a unique feature, with history and children's role in Kabuki. It's magical," felt Glover the traveler.



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