Word of the Day – Onnagata

It’s been a while since we boosted your vocabulary.

We stumbled on the word Onnagata last night while leafing through the latest issue of New Yorker magazine (April 2, 2012, P.7).

There’s a short piece on an upcoming Kabuki (Japanese dance-drama) program in New York City that contains the word Onnagata.

means a man who specializes in performing the roles of women on stage in Kabukis.

The New Yorker piece mentions that Bando Tamasaburo is Japan’s best known Onnagata.

In India, the colorful Kathakali dance drama, popular in the south western state of Kerala, is traditionally an all-male dance form that employs males to don the roles of females.

So can we describe our Kathakali male dancers who play women as Onnagatas?

By the way, rumors to the contrary notwithstanding, we can assure you that vocabulary has nothing to do with its Tamil fourth cousin Okkapulleri! 😉

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