By L. Edelson
Danjuro’s ladies is an interesting historical past of Japan’s lady kabuki troupes, supplying a penetrating research into 3 generations of kabuki actresses linked to the well known Ichikawa Danjuro appearing dynasty. Contextually grounding early woman precedents in kabuki, the booklet makes a speciality of the Ichikawa women’ Kabuki Troupe, a distinct and trailblazing corporation based after Japan’s defeat in international conflict II. The troupe turned a countrywide sensation within the Nineteen Fifties, in short changing into a part of the differently impenetrable all-male kabuki institution. Drawing on quite a few interviews, in addition to written and visible basic resources, Danjuro’s women demanding situations readers to reassess traditional notions approximately gender, functionality, and standard eastern theatre.
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Extra resources for Danjuro's Girls: Women on the Kabuki Stage (Palgrave Studies in Theatre and Performance History)
Danjūrō was quoted subsequently as saying that Théo was around forty-two or forty-three (he would have been around fifty-six), and “still very beautiful,” and that the two had met “many times” during her visit to Japan. Exactly how they communicated is unknown; Danjūrō spoke no French, she no Japanese, but that did not prevent them from spending time together. 53 Apparently, Théo’s Occidental credentials were prioritized over Kumehachi’s lifelong devotion to the kabuki theatre. Because Théo was a foreign European actress performing for a limited run, kabuki actors were not likely to feel that their jobs were threatened.
56 Danjūrō, likewise, came to believe that Théo was a brilliant performer. ” Yet, now he distinguished between kabuki and the new, emerging genres of theatre. ”58 It is true that Sanshō later noted that Danjūrō had “murmured” something about “having all the ladies in waiting (koshimoto) played by women,” and that he was still trying to understand how a “woman’s figure could harmonize with kabuki,” but there is little doubt that Danjūrō’s views on women in kabuki had changed from the time he had accepted Kumehachi as his disciple.
In actuality, the edict merely took a laissez-faire stance regarding women on the stage, stating quite simply that the police’s policy will be “not to make an issue of it” (fumon ni fusu). Rather than permitting women to perform onstage—which they already were doing—the edict was concerned with men and women performing together. It announced that henceforth the police would neither prohibit nor promote such performances from taking place. 28 Kumehachi’s wish to perform together with men appears to have been the impetus behind the edict.