Objectives and History

The Organization for the Preservation of Kabuki is…

Kabuki has been designated as Important Intangible Cultural Properties. The Organization for the Preservation of Kabuki (OPK) is authorized by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology as a holding group of the said intangible cultural properties.
The organization currently consists of members selected among actors, Nagauta singers and players, Takemoto singers and players, Narimono players and Kyogen Sakusha(script writers) who have more than 20 years professional experience at high performing standard. This shows that the OPK is a core group for Kabuki in which members take the lead to improve their own performances as well as to train younger professionals. Also, the OPK promotes Kabuki under conception that popularization of Kabuki is the important means to preserve and cultivate its culture.

The Organization for the Preservation of Kabuki
Establishment: 1 March, 1965
Contact: c/o The National Theatre, 4-1, Hayabusa-cho, Chiyoda-ku,Tokyo 102-8656 JAPAN
Tel:+81-3-5212-1243 Fax: +81-3-5212-1244
For enquiry: info@kabuki.or.jp
Chairman: Nakamura Eijiro (Nakamura Shikan)


The Organization for the Preservation of Kabuki(OPK) was founded on the 1st March, 1965 on the basis of the Cultural Properties Protection Law. The initial members of Board of Directors were Ichikawa Jukai III as Chairman, Ichikawa Sadanji III as Vice Chairman, Ichikawa Danjuro XI, Ichikawa Chusha VIII, Ichimura Uzaemon XVII, Onoe Baiko VII, Kataoka Nizaemon XIII, Nakamura Utaemon VI, Nakamura Kanzaburo XVII, Nakamura Matagoro, Bando Mitsugoro VIII and Matsumoto Hakuo I as Directors and Onoe Shoroku II, Nakamura Shikaku II and Morita Kanya XIV as Supervisors.

There were 90 members in the first selection, all of whom were actors while the total number of Kabuki actors at that time was about 320.

Kabuki was authorized to be "Important Intangible Cultural Properties" on the 20th April, 1965 and members of the OPK were agreed to be authorized to be its holders accordingly.

In November, 1966 shortly after the OPK’s inauguration, the National Theatre was opened at Miyakezaka in Tokyo as Japan’s first state theatre mainly for Kabuki, traditional performing arts. It was the beginning of era when both the Kabukiza managed by a private company, Shochiku and the National Theatre present Kabuki performances in the capital city.

Training programmes for Kabuki actors jointly organized by the National Theatre and the OPK was launched in 1970. The programmes were followed by those for Takemoto in 1975, Kabuki Ongaku & Narimono(music & percussion)in 1981 and Nagauta in 1999.

In 1976, Kabuki music was also authorized to be an element to compose Important Intangible Cultural Properties, Kabuki and its players were admitted to be members of the OPK. Consequently, singers and players of both Takemoto and Nagauta, Narimono players and Kyogen Sakusha(literally means script writer but nowadays more likely stage manager) joined the organization.

In 1982, the OPK’s self-organized performance, "Hazuki-kai" was held and continued till its 17th annual show in 1998.

The year of 1999 was the OPK’s re-inauguration year when daily trainings and "Trainees’ Stage Performance" replacing former "Hazuki-kai" started.

"Kabuki Workshop"targeting children was launched in 2000.

In November, 2005, Kabuki was proclaimed by UNESCO as one of "Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity."

In November, 2008, the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by USESCO was established, in which Kabuki was stated accordingly.