|Other names||Concussion Blocks, Kabuki Blocks, Kabuki Clappers|
The hyōshigi (拍子木) is a simple Japanese musical instrument, consisting of two pieces of hardwood or bamboo often connected by a thin ornamental rope. The clappers are played together or on the floor to create a cracking sound. Sometimes they are struck slowly at first, then faster and faster.
Hyōshigi are used in traditional Japanese theaters, such as Kabuki and Bunraku theater, to announce the beginning of a performance. The kyogen-kata usually plays the hyoshigi at the start of comedic plays. It can be used to attract the attention of the audience by conductors for theater and even athletic and juggling performances. Hyōshigi are also used to stress confusion, and other dramatic moments, in the play.
It is also often used to signal the starting or the end of parts of festivals, especially in the directing of the mikoshi.
The wooden percussion instrument was also used by night-watchmen when patrolling the streets.
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