Kaomise (顔見世) is a kabuki performance in Minami-za theatre in Kyoto, staged every year from November 30th to December 26th.
Meaning “showing the faces”, the name originally referred to December performances in kabuki theatres all over Japan, during which actors who signed contracts for the next year made their first appearance. Nowadays when only a handful of kabuki theatres exist, it is most often used to indicate the performance in Kyoto, which gathers top actors and musicians both from Tokyo and Kansai areas.
In 2012 the program, divided into morning and evening parts, consisted of seven plays and an official announcement of a stage name succession for 31 year old Nakamura Kankuro (formerly Nakamura Kantaro).
The highlight of the morning section was “Kotobuki Soga-no Taimen” an early 20th century adaptation of a classical story about Soga brothers who took revenge on a murderer of their father. Based on the historical fact from 1193, this performance featured colourful attires, elaborate make-up and an expressive play by the new Kankuro in a role of the rough Soga Goro.
During Kaomise, Minami-za theatre is decorated with wooden tablets displaying the names of all actors taking part in the performance. Hanging the tablets which takes place on Nov. 26th is a ceremony in itself and is widely covered by media.
For commercial reasons only official channels can publish photos from kabuki performances. But if you would like to see what kabuki looks like, please take a look at a gallery of children kabuki in Nagahama