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Glossary of Asian Culture - K

Kabuki: Traditional form of elaborate and stylized Japanese theater. It is often characterized by ornate make-up and costumes, and vivid song, dance and dramatizations.

Kanji: One of three systems of characters used in written Japanese language that are based on Chinese Han characters.

Ka-fu: Japanese words that literally means flowers in the wind.

Katakana: One of three systems of characters used in the written Japanese language that are typically used to transfer non-Japanese words into Japanese consonant and vowel sounds.

Karakusa: A unique Japanese design that is an abstraction of plants and flowers into designs of spirals and lines. Sometimes known as “winding plants”, karakusa can be widely found on Japanese art works from ceramics, textile, metal works to lacquer wares.

Kimono: The traditional Japanese costume that resembles a robe with overlapping collars that form a V. Often delicately decorated, kimonos are a form of traditional wear unique to Japan, and there are many kinds of kimonos for different festivals and occasions.

Kitsune: Japanese word for fox that is also used to describe the fox figures with supernatural abilities that appear in traditional folktales.

Koi: An ornamental breed of carp commonly used in Japanese ponds and water gardens. A symbol of love and friendship in Japan because their name bear the same sound as the word that means affection in Japan. They are also symbols of strength and perseverance.

Kokeshi Dolls/kokeshi: Traditional hand-carved Japanese wooden dolls characterized by their rounded heads, delicate faces, and limbless bodies.

Koryo Dynasty: A period in Korean history from the years 918 to 1392A.D. The most notable product of this period is the Korean celadon pottery. The Koryo celadon is considered one of the finest ceramic works in Korean history.

Kotobuki: A Japanese word that means longevity and carries with it the meaning and well wishes for a long life.
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