Who We Are

All About Us

Za Kabuki (Japanese: ザ歌舞伎), founded in 1976 at the Australian National University, is the longest running Kabuki troupe outside of Japan. Directed by Mr. Shun Ikeda of the ANU Japan Centre, with a cast and crew consisting mainly of ANU Japanese students, the troupe performs traditional Kabuki plays almost entirely in classical Japanese, with some English translation and ad-libs inserted to assist the mainly English-speaking audiences.

The ANU “Za Kabuki” production group has performed kabuki, the Japanese traditional play on stage for over 30 years. Under the guidance of the lecturer of Japanese courses at the university, the ANU Za Kabuki members consist of ANU students studying Japanese or Japan-related courses and Japanese international and exchange students.


We are a non-profit student group and there is no charge for membership. Meetings are held twice a week and we also organize some social events for the members such as Kabuki movie nights, to facilitate understanding of Japanese culture and promote cross-cultural interaction. We also collaborate with the ANU “Japan Club” for some events to enrich cultural experiences in students’ university life.


ANU “ZA Kabuki” is performed in a combination of English and Japanese lines to attract both non-Japanese and Japanese audiences. Although the authentic Kabuki in Japan is performed only by men who take both male and female roles, ANU “Za Kabuki” has both men and women taking part, featuring cross-dressing by both groups. It has a unique characteristic in its original way of combining traditional aspects as well as contemporary aspects through the use of dance with popular music and Australian humour into it. Students work hard to make the performance entertaining for audiences from different backgrounds.

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