Taishu Engeki originated from actors who left the classically traditional Kabuki theatre during the Edo period to become travelling entertainers. It grew in popularity throughout Japan as the theatre for the masses. Today there are about 120 troupes, which tend to be formed within families. Their leadership is usually handed down from generation to generation. Taishu Engeki consists of plays and dance shows. The plays are characterised by easy-to-understand historical dramas with a clear sense of right and wrong, comedies that provoke laughter, and tear-jerking, human-interest dramas. The dance shows are delicate yet extravagant. Taishu Engeki is jam-packed with the traditional characteristics of Japanese culture that appeal to foreigners - Kimono, Geisha, Oiran (courtesans), Samurai, swords, Chambara (sword fighting), Shamisen, Kabuki and more! In particular, Onnagata, in which male actors perform as women, is filled with unique beauty and quality.