The sarugaku (literally music monkey) or sangaku was a form of popular theatre in Japan from eleventh to fourteenth century. It derives from sangaku, a form of entertainment is closer to the modern circus and acrobatics with mostly, juggling, pantomime and sometimes dances with taiko.

The sarugaku passed from China to Japan in the eighth century and are mixed with local traditions, including celebrations of dengaku at harvest time. In the eleventh century, the genre began to integrate comic numbers at the same time as other elements disappeared. Towards the end of the twelfth century, the term "sarugaku" had come to nominate humorous dialogues based on puns (toben), dances improvised comic Group (rambu), short plays by some players and musical arrangements inspired by the traditions of court. In the thirteenth century, produced a general trend towards a consolidation of words, gestures and music, and the order of the programme. It also adopted a system of guilds (za) who was at the root of all schools of contemporary Noh. The kyogen is also derived from sarugaku.

Particularly significant was the development of troops sarugaku in Yamato, around the cities of Nara and Kyoto during the Kamakura period and the beginning of the Muromachi period. The troupe Noh-sarugaku Yuzaki, headed by Kan'ami particularly in 1374 gave a performance in front of the young Ashikaga shogun Yoshimitsu whose success he assumed the protection of the shogunate and allowed this art form to leave a lasting mists of its past plebeien. From that moment the term sarugaku gave way in the nomenclature ordinary than Noh.

The Japanese term "sarugaku" is also used in other contexts, to talk about a job or a profession that seems to belittle the employee or treat it as an object of entertainment rather than as a professional.

Read also Kabane


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