The Man Who Saved Kabuki: Faubion Bowers and Theatre Censorship in Occupied Japan

The Man Who Saved Kabuki: Faubion Bowers and Theatre Censorship in Occupied Japan

by Shiro Okamoto
     
 

As part of its program to promote democracy in Japan after World War II, the American Occupation, headed by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, undertook to enforce rigid censorship policies aimed at eliminating all traces of feudal thought in media and entertainment, including kabuki. Faubion Bowers (1917-1999), who served as personal aide and interpreter to MacArthur during the… See more details below

Overview

As part of its program to promote democracy in Japan after World War II, the American Occupation, headed by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, undertook to enforce rigid censorship policies aimed at eliminating all traces of feudal thought in media and entertainment, including kabuki. Faubion Bowers (1917-1999), who served as personal aide and interpreter to MacArthur during the Occupation, was appalled by the censorship policies and anticipated the extinction of a great theatrical art. He used his position in the Occupation administration and his knowledge of Japanese theatre in his tireless campaign to save kabuki. He had his views circulated widely in newspapers and promoted special performances to educate the Occupation forces on the artistic merits of kabuki. Through the efforts of Bowers and others, censorship of kabuki had largely been eliminated by the time he left Japan in 1948.

The Man Who Saved Kabuki tells Bower's story, beginning with his arrival in Japan in 1940, when he first encountered and fell in love with kabuki. It reveals the hardships laced by kabuki and its actors because of wartime censorship, and concludes with an account of Bowers's postwar achievements. Although Bowers is at the center of the story, this lively and skillfully adapted translation from the original Japanese treats a critical period in the long history of kabuki as it was affected by a single individual who had a commanding influence over it. It offers fascinating and little-known details about Occupation censorship politics and kabuki performance while providing yet another perspective on the history of an enduring Japanese art form.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780824824419
Publisher:
University of Hawaii Press, The
Publication date:
01/01/2001
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
232
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents

Translator's Introduction
Author's Introduction
Ch. 1Faubion Bowers and Japan, 1940-19451
Ch. 2Wartime Kabuki: Censorship on the Home Front17
Ch. 3The Occupation Commences and the Actors Return30
Ch. 4Kabuki Censorship Begins: The "Terakoya" Incident43
Ch. 5How Faubion Bowers "Saved" Kabuki66
Ch. 6Kabuki's Suffering Ends103
Ch. 7Conclusion115
Epilogue: Letter from Kawatake Shigetoshi to Faubion Bowers129
App. AKabuki Chronology, 1940-1948131
App. BKabuki Plot Summaries155
Notes181
Selected Bibliography193
Index197

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