Kabuki Syndrome Foundation: Our Name and Logo

Kabuki Syndrome is a rare genetic disorder first identified and described in 1981 by two Japanese groups, led separately by scientists Norio Niikawa and Yoshikazu Kuroki. Dr. Niikawa named the condition Kabuki make-up syndrome (KMS)  due to similarities he noted between his patients’ facial features and the make-up used by dancers in Kabuki, a form of traditional Japanese theater.

Kabuki syndrome has been referred to as KMS, Niikawa-Kuroki syndrome, and Kabuki syndrome through the last three decades. As more researchers have become involved, the shortest name has become the most used: Kabuki syndrome. In order to maintain continuity and hard-earned rare disease recognition, we continue to use this name today while acknowledging its historical foundations. Given the relative recency of identification, there is still much to learn about the syndrome.

Kabuki translates from Japanese into “the art of dance and skill.”

In modern Japanese, the word is written with three characters:  ka, signifying “song”; bu, “dance”; and ki, “skill.”

Our symbol is inspired by the common shared love of music and dance amongst those with Kabuki syndrome.  Representative of a person in dance and a blend of colors that symbolize hope and optimism, our dancer personifies the joy we find in the community. It also represents our relentless hope and commitment to improving the lives of people with Kabuki syndrome. Learn more about Kabuki syndrome.