Hanamichi (literally, flower path) (花道)

Hanamichi is the extension area of the stage which runs through the audience in theaters which hold performances such as kabuki. It looks like a passage which leads from the stage. Actors use it to enter or exit the stage. The passage runs on shimote (the left of the stage as seen from the audience) is called the hon-hanamichi and the passage runs on kamite (the right of the stage) is called the kari-hanamichi. The kari-hanamichi is often used temporarily and it is rare to find a theater where the kari-hanamichi is constructed as a permanent setup.

The hanamichi originates from the hashigakari (the bridge to the stage) used in Noh. In kabuki, it is decided as a traditional form that a character who enters from the hanamichi stops the action and shows short performance (sometimes the performance is long) when he comes to the place where is between three-tenths and four-tenths of the hanamichi (three-tenths of the hanamichi) if it is divided into ten equal parts. The traditional hanamichi has a small Seri called Suppon (the trap located on the hanamichi) at the three-tenths of the hanamichi. It is used according to an instruction and a direction. This device is worth mentioning in the history of theater because this enables to create a three-dimensional space by making an actor come out from the stage, where is a two-dimensional space for the audience, and appear in the space where the audience is located. Hanamichi also means the path where a Rikishi (a Sumo wrestler) walks when he goes to dohyo (the Sumo ring) and returns to a waiting room.

Derived from the above meaning, the hanamichi is used to express a celebrated retirement. It is used to express the occasion when people celebrate the retirement of someone who accomplished a great achievement in the specific field.

Besides the retirement, the hanamichi also means someone's successful way of life.

[Original Japanese]