What is the Japanese for Chinese Opera?

The Japanese language Wikipedia article on Chinese opera is titled 戯曲 (中国), with "中国" merely being disambiguation metadata. 戯曲 apparently means drama, with no emphasis of it being Chinese.

The article mentions "チャイニーズ・オペラ", which is a katakana transliteration for "Chinese Opera". However, a transliteration of English seems a bit strange.

Does Japanese have a semantic gap for "Chinese Opera", having only the word for "drama", plus words for the specific branches of Chinese Opera?

1 Answer 1


I think the most-often used generic word would be 「[京劇]{きょうげき}」 and that is used many times as often as 「チャイニーズ・オペラ」 in the media.

Technically speaking, 「京劇」 may be used only to refer to the Beijing version of the art, but if you used the term, Japanese-speakers would at least know that you were referring to the "traditional" Chinese theater.

I do know for sure that 「[戯曲]{ぎきょく}」 would not be the word you are looking for. It just means a drama or play regardless of its nationality. To Japanese-speakers, "Hamlet" is definitely a 戯曲.

Not too many Japanese-speakers would know what you meant if you used 「チャイニーズ・オペラ」, either.

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