Rising from the Flames: The Rebirth of Theater in Occupied Japan, 1945-1952

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On August 15, 1945, when the war ended, almost all of Tokyo and 'saka's theaters had been destroyed or heavily damaged by American bombs. The Japanese urban infrastructure was reduced to dust, and so, one might have thought, would be the nation's spirit, especially in the face of nuclear bombing and foreign occupation. Yet, less than two weeks after the atom bombs had been dropped, theater began to show signs of life. Before long, all forms of Japanese theater were back on stage, and from death's ashes arose the flower of art. Rising from the Flames contains sixteen essays, many accompanied by photographic illustrations, by thirteen specialists. They explore the triumphs and tribulations of Occupation-period (1945–1952) theater, and cover not only such traditional forms as kabuki, no, kyogen, bunraku puppet theater (as well as the traditional marionette theater, the Yuki-za), and the comic narrator's art of rakugo, but also the modern genres of shingeki, musical comedy, and the all-female Takarazuka Revue. Among the numerous topics discussed are censorship, theater reconstruction, politics, internationalization, unionization, the search for a national identity through drama, and the treatment of the emperor on the pre- and postwar stage. The essays in this volume examine how Japanese theater, subject to oppressive thought control by prewar authorities, responded to the new—if temporarily limited—freedom allowed by the American occupiers, attesting to Japan's remarkable resilience in the face of national defeat.

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Editorial Reviews

Asian Theatre Journal
The great value of this book: it broadens our knowledge of a time of crises in Japanese theatre—a crisis taht mirros our view of the entire postwar Japan.
Journal Of Japanese Studies
No review of this brevity can do complete justice to a study of this scope and variety....Leiter has done an admirable job stitching together more than a dozen essays covering a wide range of theatrical forms, from itinerant troupes of female kabuki actors to Takarazuka under the occupation....this book is a fascinating look at a dramatic chapter in Japan's turbulent postwar reconstruction when the theater offered solace to a public hungry for entertainment and direction.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780739128183
  • Publisher: The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Series: AsiaWorld Series
  • Pages: 462
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Samuel L. Leiter is Distinguished Professor of Theater Emeritus, Brooklyn College, CUNY, and the Graduate Center, CUNY.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction Part 2 Part 1: Kabuki Chapter 3 Chapter 1. From Bombs to Booms: When the Occupation Met Kabuki Chapter 4 Chapter 2. Playing for the Majors and the Minors: Ichikawa Girls' Kabuki on the Postwar Stage Chapter 5 Chapter 3. The Good Censors: Evading the Threat to Postwar Kabuki Chapter 6 Chapter 4. The Mitsukoshi Gekij?: The Little Theater That Could Chapter 7 Chapter 5. Performing the Emperor's New Clothes: The Mikado, The Tale of Genji, and Lèse Majesté on the Japanese Stage Part 8 Part 2: Other Traditional Theaters Chapter 9 Chapter 6. No and Kyogen during the Occupation Chapter 10 Chapter 7. Mitsuwa-kai versus Shochiku: Occupation Reforms and the Unionization of Bunraku Chapter 11 Chapter 8. Surviving and Succeeding: The Yuki-za Marionette Theater Company Chapter 12 Chapter 9. Laughter after Wars: Rakugo during the Occupation Part 13 Part 3: Modern Theater Chapter 14 Chapter 10. SCAP'S "Problem Child": American Aesthetics, the Shingeki Stage, and the Occupation of Japan Chapter 15 Chapter 11. From War Responsibility to the Red Purge: Politics, Shingeki, and the Case of Kubo Sakae Chapter 16 Chapter 12. A Fabulous Fake: Folklore and the Search for National Identity in Kinoshita Junji's Twilight Crane Chapter 17 Chapter 13. To the Rhythm of Jazz: Enoken's Postwar Musical Comedies Part 18 Appendix A. A Note on Kabuki Censorship: An Interview withJames R. Brandon Part 19 Appendix B. A Note on Kansai Kabuki Part 20 Appendix C. A Note on Takarazuka

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