Okuni was a Japanese shrine maiden who is believed to have invented the theatrical art form of kabuki. She is thought to have begun performing her new art style of "kabuki" theatre in the dry riverbed of the Kamo River in Kyoto. Okuni's troupe quickly gained immense popularity, and were known for their performers, who were often lower-class women Okuni had recruited to act in her all-female theater group.
Few concrete details are known about her life; born near Izumo province, Okuni worked as a miko for several years at the Izumo-taisha until gaining popularity for her dramatised dance performances, which onlookers gave the name of kabuki. Okuni continued to perform kabuki with her troupe until her retirement and disappearance sometime around 1610. She is believed to have died sometime around 1613.