Edo Kabuki in Transition: From the Worlds of the Samurai to the Vengeful Female Ghost

Hardcover | April 26, 2016

bySatoko Shimazaki

not yet rated|write a review

Satoko Shimazaki revisits three centuries of kabuki theater, reframing it as a key player in the formation of an early modern urban identity in Edo Japan and exploring the process that resulted in its re-creation in Tokyo as a national theatrical tradition. Challenging the prevailing understanding of early modern kabuki as a subversive entertainment and a threat to shogunal authority, Shimazaki argues that kabuki instilled a sense of shared history in the inhabitants of Edo (present-day Tokyo) by invoking "worlds," or sekai, derived from earlier military tales, and overlaying them onto the present. She then analyzes the profound changes that took place in Edo kabuki toward the end of the early modern period, which witnessed the rise of a new type of character: the vengeful female ghost.

Shimazaki's bold reinterpretation of the history of kabuki centers on the popular ghost play Tokaido Yotsuya kaidan (The Eastern Seaboard Highway Ghost Stories at Yotsuya, 1825) by Tsuruya Nanboku IV. Drawing not only on kabuki scripts but also on a wide range of other sources, from theatrical ephemera and popular fiction to medical and religious texts, she sheds light on the development of the ubiquitous trope of the vengeful female ghost and its illumination of new themes at a time when the samurai world was losing its relevance. She explores in detail the process by which nineteenth-century playwrights began dismantling the Edo tradition of "presenting the past" by abandoning their long-standing reliance on the sekai. She then reveals how, in the 1920s, a new generation of kabuki playwrights, critics, and scholars reinvented the form again, "textualizing" kabuki so that it could be pressed into service as a guarantor of national identity.

Pricing and Purchase Info

$60.00

Ships within 1-3 weeks
Ships free on orders over $25

From the Publisher

Satoko Shimazaki revisits three centuries of kabuki theater, reframing it as a key player in the formation of an early modern urban identity in Edo Japan and exploring the process that resulted in its re-creation in Tokyo as a national theatrical tradition. Challenging the prevailing understanding of early modern kabuki as a subversiv...

Satoko Shimazaki is assistant professor of Japanese literature and theater at the University of Southern California. Her research focuses on early modern Japanese theater and popular literature; the modern history of kabuki; gender representation on the kabuki stage; and the interaction of performance, print, and text.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:392 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:April 26, 2016Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231172265

ISBN - 13:9780231172264

Customer Reviews of Edo Kabuki in Transition: From the Worlds of the Samurai to the Vengeful Female Ghost

Reviews

Extra Content

Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsA Note to the ReaderIntroductionPart I. The Birth of Edo Kabuki1. Presenting the Past: Edo Kabuki and the Creation of CommunityPart II. The Beginning of the End of Edo Kabuki: Yotsuya kaidan in 18252. Overturning the World: The Treasury of Loyal Retainers and Yotsuya kaidan3. Shades of Jealousy: The Body of the Female Ghost4. The End of the World: Figures of the Ubume and the Breakdown of Theater TraditionPart III: The Modern Rebirth of Kabuki5. Another History: Yotsuya kaidan on Stage and PageNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

Edo Kabuki in Transition is an extraordinary contribution to the field of kabuki studies, in both the West and Japan. Its unconventional yet comprehensive view of Edo kabuki's evolution, especially its playwriting practices, filtered through the lens of Tsuruya Nanboku IV's 1825 coproduction of his revolutionary ghost play Yotsuya kaidan and the popular history play Chushingura, is original and searching. Satoko Shimazaki's highly readable, marvelously researched study gives us both a penetrating understanding of the fluidity of Edo dramaturgy and an exceptionally thorough examination of the ghost play genre.