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Kabuki has been a part of Japanese culture for nearly four centuries. The plays performed today are generally selected from a classic repertoire that gradually ceased to develop once Japan broke the chains of its isolationist policy and began the surge toward Westernization. The plays largely reflect the values of feudal Japan, and they portray a world of noble samurai overcoming evil adversaries, adulterous lovers overcoming their dilemmas through double suicide, parents sacrificing their children in the name of loyalty to a superior, and children giving up their lives for the sake of their parents. Productions typically contain spectacular sets, elaborate costumes, and colorful makeup. Though kabuki is so essential to the heritage of Japan, it still remains largely a beautiful mystery to the West. This reference book is a comprehensive guide to the fascinating world of kabuki.
An extensive revision and expansion of the 1979 Kabuki Encyclopedia, this volume is the most comprehensive guide to Japan's kabuki theatre in any language other than Japanese. The present volume includes many new illustrations, a lengthy and detailed index, thorough cross-referencing, greatly expanded descriptions of plays, an extensive bibliography of English-language and Japanese sources, and more than 400 new entries. A major feature is the inclusion of Japanese characters for all main entry terms, titles, and names. The entries are arranged alphabetically, and the volume's appendices include a chronological table of kabuki history, a list of all major or formal play titles, a list of all variant or popular titles, genealogical charts, and a list of all major actors' stage nicknames (yago) currently in use.
Appendix I: Brief Chronology of Kabuki
Appendix II: Major Plays
Appendix III: Popularized or Alternate Play Titles
Appendix IV: Actors' Genealogies
Appendix V: List of Yago in Use Today
Subject Guide to Main Entries