Kabuki Plays on Stage. Volume 4: Restoration and Reform, 1872-1905

Hardback: $52.00
ISBN-13: 9780824825744
Published: July 2003

Additional Information

448 pages | 37 illus., 21 in color
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  • About the Book
  • Restoration and Reform, 1872-1905, is the fourth and final volume in a monumental new series that traces kabuki's changing relations to Japanese society during the premodern era.

    The twelve plays translated in Volume 4 cover the remarkable Meiji period, which followed the restoration of the emperor as the leader of Japan. They reflect the years in which reform-minded leaders struggled to help Japan catch up with the West. Dramatists no less than others sought ways in which to bring their traditional art into the modern world and to bring international respectability to the national stage. Included are kabuki dance plays that strive to resemble nô and kyôgen; historical dramas that abandon theatrical fantasy and opt for accurate reproduction of ancient manners; domestic dramas featuring colorful heroes and heroines; pieces that introduce faddish Western properties and behavior; and a play that bridges the gap between the conventions of classical kabuki, Shakespeare, and modern psychological drama. Dominating the era are the works of Kawatake Mokuami, the last great kabuki playwright, while the dramaturgy of literary scholar Tsubouchi Shôyô brings kabuki into the twentieth century.

  • About the Author(s)
    • James R. Brandon, Editor

      James R. Brandon is emeritus professor of Asian theatre at the University of Hawai‘i.
    • Samuel L. Leiter, Editor

      Samuel L. Leiter is distinguished professor of theatre at Brooklyn College, City University of New York, and also teaches at The Graduate Center, City University of New York.