Danjuro's Girls: Women on the Kabuki Stage (Palgrave Studies by L. Edelson

By L. Edelson

Danjuro’s women is an interesting heritage of Japan’s girl kabuki troupes, providing a penetrating research into 3 generations of kabuki actresses linked to the popular Ichikawa Danjuro appearing dynasty. Contextually grounding early girl precedents in kabuki, the booklet specializes in the Ichikawa women’ Kabuki Troupe, a special and trailblazing corporation based after Japan’s defeat in international warfare II. The troupe grew to become a countrywide sensation within the Fifties, in brief turning into a part of the another way impenetrable all-male kabuki institution. Drawing on various interviews, in addition to written and visible fundamental resources, Danjuro’s ladies demanding situations readers to re-evaluate traditional notions approximately gender, functionality, and standard jap theatre.

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Com - licensed to Taiwan eBook Consortium - PalgraveConnect - 2011-05-06 2. 2 Before the war the town had been famous for its minor theatres. Many local folk could chant lines by heart from plays and imitate their favorite actor. 3 Many locals belonged to an amateur theatre club called “Manninkō” (ten thousand plays) in which participants pooled their money, so that a select few could see kabuki at the grand theatres in Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, or Osaka. In turn, Manninkō representatives were each responsible for a different aspect of production—dialogue, movement, costumes, scenery, props—so that upon returning to Toyokawa, they reported on every aspect of the performance, imitated the voices and movement of the actors, and applied their newfound knowledge to town festivals and amateur productions.

35 The reverse side appears to have included a haiku that Danjūrō composed in honor of his daughters: Danjūrō’s Girls In light of his support for women to play female roles, Danjūrō’s choice to have his daughters play the butterflies might have been strategic. It was unlikely to upset opponents since the butterflies have no explicit gender. The butterflies do not speak, and the fact that the girls appeared with their father for the majority of their onstage time might have mollified even the most obstinate critic.

Hailing from Toyokawa in the Mikawa district of Aichi Prefecture, they were unabashedly provincial. 1 The majority of members came from families that were intimately acquainted with minor kabuki and the tradition of men and women performing together. In this respect, Toyokawa was perfectly positioned to produce a female theatre troupe after the war. Nestled in the countryside between the Mikawa-sanchi mountain range and the Toyokawa River, the city was somewhat sheltered from the hunger, poverty, and panic that characterized the immediate postwar experience for many urban Japanese.

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