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Onna-sarugaku (女猿楽)

A kind of sarugaku performed by female actors that became popular during the Muromachi and the Edo eras. The oldest performance on record took place in October 1432, according to a description in "Kanmon-gyoki." Nevertheless, onna-sarugaku was apparently very popular before that, as there were many types of performing arts featuring female performers, including shirabyoshi (female dancers). Onna-sarugaku was performed in front of the Muromachi shogun Ashikaga Yoshinori at a kanjin-sarugaku in Kyoto, appeared in a performance at the Sento Imperial Palace (where retired emperors reside), and even played opposite On-ami, an enormously popular actor of the Kanze school. In the Edo era, when the sarugaku of yoza-ichiryū was established as the ceremonial performance for the Edo Shogunate, onna-sarugaku gradually fell into decline and disappeared.

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