Kabuki is a form of Japanese theater. Though, it isn't the earliest known kind, it is the most popular. The first kabuki, created by Izumo no Okuni, was performed in 1603, making its existence over four centuries old. Created to entertain and showcase the performers’ skills, kabuki combines brilliantly colored clothing and make-up, intricately performed dances and outrageous plot lines.
Kabuki is characterized by its outlandish way of telling stories. This style didn't go without purpose though, actually created in opposition to Noh (another form of Japanese theater), it deliberately attempted to surprise and shock its viewers. It consists of different episodes that come together at the end for a monumental climax.
In the early stages of kabuki it was just women performing grand dance ensembles. Eventually, women were banned from performing kabuki altogether and their places were taken over by cross-dressing male actors called onnagata. This was because many of the performers were also selling themselves in prostitution, which the Japanese government deemed unethical and corruptive of public mold.
It appealed mainly to civilians of lower class. Kabuki was the first type of dramatic entertainment geared towards the tastes of Japan’s common people. Now kabuki has become a stylized art form that is still performed in Japan today.