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Fuji Musumè ( 藤娘 ) or “Wisteria Maiden”

Fuji Musume or “Wisteria Maiden”, is a famous classical dance out of the Kabuki theater in Japan.

Print made by Utagawa Kunisada I (1826).

Print made by Utagawa Kunisada I (1826).

Fuji (wisteria) Musume (maiden), now performed independently, was first performed in 1826 as one of a set of five dances.
The figure of the wisteria maiden first came from the town of Otsu on the shores of Lake Biwa, where folk art pictures, painted by hand, called Otsu-e were sold as souvenirs. The wisteria maiden was the most famous of them. The other four dances in the original set also came from Otsu-e.

Left: The actor Seki Sanjûrô II playing the role of the Wisteria Maiden in the hengemono “Kaesu Gaesu Onagori no Ôtsue”, which was staged in September 1826 at the Nakamuraza.

Print: "Onoe Baiko VII as Fuji Musume" by Ota Gako (1949).

Print: Onoe Baiko VII as Fuji Musume by Ota Gako (1949).

The dance Fuji Musume was first performed in 1826 at Nakamura-za, Edo (now Tokyo). Later in 1938, Onoe Baiko VII, the most famous Kabuki actor during his time, became associated with the dance after his portrayal of Fuji Musume at the Kabukiza Theater in Tokyo. His choreography and refinement of this dance helped to make it stand out and remain today as one of the most popular and famous Kabuki dances.

If this has raised your interest on the subject, there is more to read on the Tsubo-en page “Fuji Musumè” ( 藤娘 ) or “Wisteria Maiden”.