Edo Kabuki in Transition: From the Worlds of the Samurai to the Vengeful Female Ghost by Satoko ShimazakiEdo Kabuki in Transition: From the Worlds of the Samurai to the Vengeful Female Ghost by Satoko Shimazaki

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

bySatoko Shimazaki

Hardcover | April 26, 2016

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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.

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.
Title:Edo Kabuki in Transition: From the Worlds of the Samurai to the Vengeful Female GhostFormat:HardcoverDimensions:392 pagesPublished:April 26, 2016Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231172265

ISBN - 13:9780231172264


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

This fascinating book is a bold revisioning of the development of kabuki theater in Edo (present-day Tokyo).... Highly recommended.