Onnagata: A Labyrinth of Gendering in Kabuki Theater by Maki Isaka

Onnagata: A Labyrinth of Gendering in Kabuki Theater

byMaki Isaka

Hardcover | January 15, 2016

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Kabuki is well known for its exaggerated acting, flamboyant costumes and makeup, and unnatural storylines. The onnagata, usually male actors who perform the roles of women, have been an important aspect of kabuki since its beginnings in the 17th century. In a ?labyrinth? of gendering, the practice of men playing women?s roles has affected the manifestations of femininity in Japanese society. In this case study of how gender has been defined and redefined through the centuries, Maki Isaka examines how the onnagata?s theatrical gender ?impersonation? has shaped the concept and mechanisms of femininity and gender construction in Japan. The implications of the study go well beyond disciplinary and geographic cloisters.

About The Author

Maki Isaka is associate professor in the Department of Asian Languages and Literatures and affiliate faculty in the Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Minnesota. She is the author of Secrecy in Japanese Arts: ?Secret Transmission? as a Mode of Knowledge.

Details & Specs

Title:Onnagata: A Labyrinth of Gendering in Kabuki TheaterFormat:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.9 inPublished:January 15, 2016Publisher:University Of Washington PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0295995106

ISBN - 13:9780295995106

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Kabuki is well known for its exaggerated acting, flamboyant costumes and makeup, and unnatural storylines. The onnagata, usually male actors who perform the roles of women, have been an important aspect of kabuki since its beginnings in the 17th century. In a ?labyrinth? of gendering, the practice of men playing women?s roles has affected the manifestations of femininity in Japanese society. In this case study of how gender has been defined and redefined through the centuries, Maki Isaka examines how the onnagata?s theatrical gender ?impersonation? has shaped the concept and mechanisms of femininity and gender construction in Japan. The implications of the study go well beyond disciplinary and geographic cloisters.Isaka?s study draws on extensive archival research and rigorous engagement with theory, analyzing the intersections of gender, culture, and performance on the kabuki stage. A welcome addition to Japanese studies, this book will inspire students and scholars alike to contemplate kabuki?s onnagata in new and insightful ways. - Jan Bardsley, author of Women and Democracy in Cold War Japan