What does Kabuki mean? How is this term used in politics?


Kabuki theatre is a stylized Japanese dance-drama tradition. Its origins date back to the early 17th century. 

Key charecterisitics of Kabuki include operatic plot lines, masks and heavy make-up. Shouting at other actors is encouraged.

In the late 1960s Kabuki became fashionable in avant-garde theatrical circles in the west, particularly in the UK. 

David Bowie was an early enthusiast, learning a form of Kabuki while working with mime artist, Lindsey Kemp. Bowie later borrowed heavily from the kabuki tradition in the creation of Ziggy Stardust.

More recently, Kabuki has entered general English as a synonym for theatrical. In the US, it is often used to describe politicians suspected of acting insincerely to please their supporters and/or attract maximum media attention.

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