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© 2009

Danjūrō’s Girls

Women on the Kabuki Stage

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Part of the Palgrave Studies in Theatre and Performance History book series (PSTPH)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvi
  2. Loren Edelson
    Pages 1-13
  3. Loren Edelson
    Pages 15-36
  4. Loren Edelson
    Pages 55-70
  5. Loren Edelson
    Pages 71-91
  6. Loren Edelson
    Pages 93-109
  7. Loren Edelson
    Pages 111-128
  8. Loren Edelson
    Pages 129-144
  9. Loren Edelson
    Pages 145-162
  10. Loren Edelson
    Pages 163-181
  11. Loren Edelson
    Pages 183-190
  12. Back Matter
    Pages 191-264

About this book

Introduction

Danjuro ' s Girls is a fascinating history of Japan's female kabuki troupes, offering a penetrating investigation into three generations of kabuki actresses associated with the renowned Ichikawa Danjuro acting dynasty. Contextually grounding early female precedents in kabuki, the book focuses on the Ichikawa Girls' Kabuki Troupe, a unique and trailblazing company founded after Japan's defeat in World War II. The troupe became a national sensation in the 1950s, briefly becoming part of the otherwise impenetrable all-male kabuki establishment. Drawing on numerous interviews, as well as written and visual primary sources, Danjuro ' s Girls challenges readers to re-examine conventional notions about gender, performance, and traditional Japanese theatre.

Keywords

bibliography history history of literature play stage style Tradition translation women

About the authors

LOREN EDELSON has taught at The City College of New York, USA and The Japan Society and has published two translations of Japanese contemporary plays, including The Three Hagi Sisters (Hagi-ke no san shimai) by Nagai Ai.

Bibliographic information

Reviews

"Anyone interested in kabuki or the history of women in theatre would find this work of great value and interest. Regardless of whether one considers the work of the Ichikawa Gir's Kabuki Troupe to be professional or not, Edelson's research is most professional, serving to update kabuki's "herstory," correct some crucial misunderstandings, and open the reader's eyes to the long-neglected world of minor league kabuki and its cultural significance into the second half of the twentieth century." - Journal of Asian Studies

"Anyone interested in kabuki or the history of women in theatre would find this work of great value and interest. Regardless of whether one considers the work of the Ichikawa Gir's Kabuki Troupe to be professional or not, Edelson's research is most professional, serving to update kabuki's "herstory," correct some crucial misunderstandings, and open the reader's eyes to the long-neglected world of minor league kabuki and its cultural significance into the second half of the twentieth century." - Asian Theatre Journal

"Edelson's study serves as a refreshing antidote to the belief that Kabuki is an all-male art. Through extensive interviews and exhaustive research into archives and reviews, the author tells the story of the powerful Ichikawa family's support of women in Kabuki . . . Edelson questions the need to 'preserve Kabuki's image as an unchanging, frozen and timeless theatre form' and challenges it by bringing to the foreground women who have struggled to be part of Kabuki's history and future . . . It is a critical addition to existing research on Kabuki, adding to scholarship on Japanese theater, history, and gender studies. Summing up:Highly recommended." - Choice

"Edelson's study of actresses in the kabuki world is eye-opening and thought-provoking . . .Edelson urges us to reexamine the various and complex ways in which women practitioners have been excluded and celebrated, marginalized and appropriated, disciplined and applauded. Above all, this is a fun book to read, with a sparkling blend of compelling scholarship and vibrant style." - Ayako Kano, Associate Professor and Undergraduate Chair, Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Pennsylvania

"Edelson's Danjuro's Girls is a delight. Through interviews and access to diaries and contemporary records, she unearths the fascinating story of the Ichikawa Girls' Kabuki Troupe . . .Edelson describes the male supervision of the troupe and the troupe's early stage successes, examines the crucial support of the great Ichikawa kabuki acting family, and relates 'girls' kabuki' to earlier female performers, Okuni and Kumehachi." - James R. Brandon, Emeritus Professor, Asian Theater, University of Hawaii

"Everyone knows that all roles in kabuki are performed by men. In Danjuro's Girls, Edelson shows how untrue this is, revealing a chapter in Japanese history heretofore unknown to outsiders. This is the remarkable story of the women who dared to defy tradition and dedicate their lives to kabuki." - Larry Kominz, Director, Center for Japanese Studies, Portland State University and author of The Stars who Created Kabuki and Mishima on Stage: The Black Lizard and Other Plays