chapter  11
23 Pages

New (Neo) Kabuki and the Work of Hanagumi Shibai

WithNatsuko Inoue

This chapter provides a selective, critical Survey of modern Japanese scholarship on kabuki as a historical theatrical form. The chapter begins with Meiji, since it was during this period that Japan, largely as a result of its encounter with the West, embarked on the path of social, political, economic, and cultural change commonly referred as kindaika known as modernization. It interprets the works and trends examined as varying responses to ideological questions concerning Japan's cultural identity. According to one historical review of theatre research, the Waseda group is characterized by its study of theatre from the point of view of Western dramatic theory, whereas the Tokyo University group under Takano was focused on the study of dramatic texts as part of Edo-period literature. The notion of kabuki as a literary theatre can also be seen in the work of the man who more than any other was responsible for laying the foundations of modern theatre studies in Japan: Tsubouchi Shoyo.