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Unformatted text preview: eing, give their attention entirely to translating and producing contemporary Western plays, especially those of
Ibsen, Chekhov, and Gorki. Above all, it was Ibsen who became the god
of Osanai’s shingeki; and at meetings of a club devoted to the study of
Ibsenian theatre, the members, we are told, proclaimed that for the “love
of Ibsen, even Shakespeare was [to be] dismissed as a block-head.”32
In addition to the efforts of Osanai and others to develop a modern,
legitimate theatre, the early twentieth century also witnessed steps taken
to bring modern musical theatre and opera to Japan.33 The first Western
opera staged in Japan was Gluck’s Orfeo et Euridice, performed at Tokyo’s
Imperial Theatre in 1911. Shortly thereafter, the Italian choreographer
Giovanni Vittorio Rosi was hired to help promote opera for Japanese
audiences. But his efforts and the efforts of others ran into a steady
stream of difficulties, one of the most serious of which was the lack of
good, trained voices. For a while, a group of companies known as the
Asakusa Operas (because they centered their activities in the Asakusa
amusement quarter of Tokyo) enjoyed success in presenting operas that
were rewritten and reshaped to appeal to Japanese tastes. But the companies’ fortunes waned in the 1920s as audiences became more knowledgeable about Western music (thanks in large part to the beginning of
radio broadcasting) and also had greater opportunity to attend performances of real opera by the Western troupes that, by then, were regularly visiting Japan. The advent of “talkies,” including musicals, also
contributed to the decline of the Asakusa Operas.
Another major effort in the development of musical theatre in Japan The Fruits of Modernity 295 was launched with the founding in 1913 of the Takarazuka Girls Opera
troupe—also called the Takarazuka Revue—by the prominent businessman and lifelong theatre enthusiast Kobayashi Ichizò (1873–1957). In
part, the Takarazuka Revue was an effort to appeal to movements under
way in the late Meiji and early Taishò periods to advance the rights of
women and to bring women into activities...
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at The University of British Columbia.
- Spring '13