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Unformatted text preview: nd modes, and thus to
make possible Japanization of the classical repertoire of Western symphonic and chamber music. Today, Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven belong
as much to the Japanese as they do to anyone else in the world.
Since the main orchestrated styles of native Japanese music were so
closely associated with the theatre, the fate of the traditional theatrical
forms after the Meiji Restoration has quite naturally determined their 270 Encounter with the West course as well. The nò theatre, a remnant of the medieval age, was antiquated even during the Tokugawa period and, despite the authorship of
new plays by certain contemporary writers, remains a drama engulfed in
history and aesthetic tradition to be admired primarily by connoisseurs
and by students of the classical arts. Similar patronage continues to support the bourgeois puppet theatre. After a period of great flourishing in
mid-Tokugawa times, bunraku declined steadily in popularity and, with
the coming of the modern era and new demands for realistic portrayal,
has had little hope of regaining any mass following.
Of chief theatrical interest in the early Meiji period was the development of kabuki. Much of the success of kabuki after the Restoration was
owing to the efforts of the impresario Morita Kanya (1846–97) and the
playwright Kawatake Mokuami (1816–93). After the overthrow of the
Tokugawa regime brought to an end the many restrictions that the shogunate had imposed on kabuki over the years, Morita moved his theatre
from the outlying Asakusa (formerly the Yoshiwara) region to the central Tsukiji area of Tokyo. Built first in 1872 and reconstructed in 1878
after destruction by fire,30 Morita’s theatre gave rise to a new era in which
kabuki enjoyed social respectability and was amenable to up-to-date,
One step taken to advance kabuki was the production of sangiri
(“cropped hair”) plays, especially by Mokuami, that dealt with current
fashions and fads (although, apart from greater topical relevance, the sangiri plays were structurally much like the domestic pieces—sewamono—
of traditional kabuki). Anot...
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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