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A geisha in Kyoto performing a buyō dance

Buyō (舞踊?) or Nippon Buyō/Nihon Buyō (日本舞踊?) is a traditional Japanese performing art, a mixture of dance and pantomime, which emerged in the early Edo period (early 17th century) from earlier traditions. While performed independently by specialists, it is particularly conspicuous as the style of dancing performed by geisha.


Nihon Buyō is different from most other traditional dances.[1] It is intended for entertainment on stage. Nihon Buyō is a refined dance that has been improved throughout four centuries.[1] There are four parts to Nihon Buyō, the most significant part being Kabuki Buyō.[1] Nihon Buyō was created directly from Kabuki Buyō before it became theater. The second part of Nihon Buyō is Noh.[1] Nihon Buyō takes a few key elements from Noh such as the circular movements and the tools used in its dances. The third part of these dances comes from the folk dances; the spinning and jumping used in folk dances was incorporated into Nihon Buyō. The last part came from a mixture of European and American culture that is found in Japan today.[1] Today, with the combination of these dances we have Nihon Buyō, a refined dance that has become an art form made for entertainment on stage.[neutrality is disputed]

Sparrow dance[edit]

The sparrow dance (雀踊り suzume odori?) is a dance based upon the fluttering movements of the Eurasian tree sparrow.[2] It was first performed, improvised, by stonemasons who were constructing Sendai Castle for the daimyo Date Masamune. The emblem of the Date clan incorporates two tree sparrows. The sparrow dance is now performed yearly in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture at the Aoba festival in mid-May.[2] School children in Miyagi prefecture learn and perform the sparrow dance, especially during the Obon Festival.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e The Japanese Classical Dance Association Inc.|What is nihon buyo?.[dead link] Retrieved on 2012-03-13.
  2. ^ a b Sendai Suzume Odori (Sendai Sparrow Dance ). Retrieved on 2012-03-13.

External links[edit]

Japanese classical dance[edit]