Japan 5-Bare-Bones

Japan 5-Bare-Bones - Japan 5 CULTURAL ISOLATIONISM: THE...

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Japan 5 CULTURAL ISOLATIONISM: THE TOKUGAWA PERIOD I. Introduction to Bunraku A. Focus for the next two periods on uniquely Japanese forms of visual and theatrical expression B. Today we look at a genre that developed to its fullest during the period of cultural isolationism—the puppet genre known as Bunraku C. NOT a juvenile form—but a high art form. D. Interesting because it is poised between reality and non-reality in the form of a wooden puppet. E. Aesthetic distancing through puppet 1. Celebration of transformation 2. Life to lifeless puppets 3. Performance to lifeless texts 4. Speech to song and back to speech II. Bunraku as a confluence of 3 traditions A. Puppet plays 1. Speculate that origins found in Japanese shamanistic and Shinto doll or puppet plays or 2. Asia Minor and Central Asian gypsy practices 3. Over 800 years of development puppets became highly sophisticated with internal strings and mechanisms for moving body parts 4. Initially the puppeteers themselves spoke and performed dialogue and sounds 5. Eventually, needed a narrator to assume narrative functions, allowing puppeteers to perform their specialized roles B. Narrative performance 1. Narrative genres already existed in Japan 2. Originally narrative singing was accompanied by the biwa player, narrator beating time with a fan 3. Most of the popular stories were from the heroic tale, The Tale of Heike (Kamakura) 4. By mid 15 th century, this original narrative was waning in popularity, giving way to more romance-oriented stories 5. Among the repertoire in 15 th century were episodes from The Tale of Princess Joruri (fictional romance between Princess Joruri and heroic Yoshitsune) 6. This narrative singing became so popular that the singing became known as joruri—even though there were other stories not related to the Joruri tale C. Shamisen performance 1. By 1600 the shamisen replaced the biwa—louder and more expressive III. Locality A. Joruri was born in Kyoto, but went to Edo (Tokyo) in the early 17 th century B. Great Edo fire of 1657 killed more than 100,000 people and destroyed most of the city C. Most of the joruri singers left for Osaka and Kyoto D. Kabuki stayed in Edo E. Big distinction in genres ever since 1
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F. Continues even today—where the descendant Bunraku is in Osaka, a commercial center with merchants necessary to patronize theater form G. Similarity with narrative arts popular in the industrial city of Tianjin, China, where there was a critical mass of patrons IV. Gorobei and history of Bunraku A. Gorobei born in 1651, near Osaka B. Farmer who had chance to hear joruri at a popular teahouse on mountainside above home C. When 20, owner of teahouse heard Gorobei sing, impressed with voice and asked him to study joruri (avenue of upward mobility rare for a farmer) D. Went to Kyoto to study, melded original with new style E. Anxious to expand repertoire—joruri, folk, popular, ceremonial—to enrich personal style F. Left teacher in Kyoto in 1677 and hooked up with blind shamisen player
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This note was uploaded on 02/17/2012 for the course HUM 240 taught by Professor Francescalawson during the Fall '11 term at BYU.

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Japan 5-Bare-Bones - Japan 5 CULTURAL ISOLATIONISM: THE...

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