A few days ago I had a great time visiting the money vacuum--I mean the Emerald City Comic Con. And I saw David Mack again. You might know him for his work on Daredevil, and for creating the heroine Kabuki in the comic book series of the same name.
Kabuki (pronounced "kah-BOO-kee") is also a type of Japanese theater that's been around for centuries. It originated during the Edo period in the 1600s. The three kanji characters that make up the word kabuki mean "sing," "dance," and "skill." It could also be derived from kabuku, which means "to be out of the ordinary," which suggests that this classic art form was considered bizarre back in the day. The expression kabukimono is used to describe someone who is bizarrely dressed.
The kabuki theater is characterized by the historical settings, themes of doomed love and societal pressure, and the elaborate make-up worn by the actors. Many plays also include elements of the supernatural, like kitsune and ghosts. They were originally performed by all women, but eventually included male performers as well. Oftentimes kabuki plays last up to a whole day.
The character Kabuki in the comic book series is the only time I heard it used as a first name. The story centers around a Japanese woman who experiences much inner conflict regarding her job as an assassin and with her personal identity. It's a story that focuses on introspection and memories as opposed to action and violence. But it's not the story that makes the comic book so interesting. It's David Mack's artwork. He uses a lot of different techniques and mediums and collages them together to create a style all his own.
Kabuki has intrigued me as a first name option ever since I first read the stories. It's very stylish and unique, and associated with exotic beauty. If you think that naming your child after a comic book character is a little weird, consider how that doesn't seem to get in the way of parents naming their children Kal-el and Rogue. The fact that the word has a history outside of the comic books is an advantage.
Whether you use Kabuki for a girl or a boy, it would be an avant-garde choice. Hell, the name even means "avant-garde." But in the age of names like Lyric, Symphony, and Unique, is it really all that jarring?