Currents in nihon buyo history
Nihon buyo’s roots lie in kabuki buyo, as mentioned earlier. In addition, there are two currents to performances of nihon buyo today, which reflect geographic centers of cultural activity in Japan.
One is the “Edo culture,” centered in Tokyo, and the other is the “Kamigata culture” based in Kyoto and Osaka. In the late 17th century, when kabuki buyo developed, the cultural center of Japan was located in Kyoto and Osaka.
However, in the early 18th century, the center shifted to Edo, and by the 19th century Edo overpowered Kyoto and Osaka as the focal point of cultural activity. As a result, dance performances and audiences in Kyoto and Osaka shifted away from the stage, and it became popular to perform and to enjoy dances in Japanese-style drawing rooms (zashiki) in tea houses and in aristocrat’s homes, much smaller spaces compared to the kabuki stage.
Different terms began to be used to distinguish between the two: Edo-centered kabuki buyo was called odori, whereas in Kyoto and Osaka, the term mai is used.