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Unformatted text preview: Tourist Organization) aries in bunraku) moved to the Kansai (Kyoto-Osaka region) and left
kabuki unchallenged in the theatre world of Edo.
The two most famous names in kabuki during the Genroku epoch
were Ichikawa Danjûrò (1660-1704) of Edo and Sakata Tòjûrò (1647–
1709) of the Kansai. Danjûrò, who was influenced by an early form of
puppet theatre that dealt with the martial exploits of a semi-legendary
hero named Kimpira, developed a style of acting called “rough business”
(aragoto). So great were Danjûrò’s success and fame that this rough business was widely imitated among Edo performers and became probably
the most characteristic feature of that city’s brand of kabuki. Sakata
Tòjûrò, on the other hand, practiced “soft business” (wagoto) in his acting and thus demonstrated the Kansai preference for the more intimate
and feminine (rather than heroic and masculine, as in Edo), a preference
that can be seen even more obviously in the Kansai approach to bunraku.19
The earliest recorded practitioners of puppetry in Japanese history
were groups of people in the late Heian period known as kugutsu, who
moved about from place to place in gypsy-like fashion and staged entertainments in which the men manipulated wooden marionettes and performed feats of magic and the women sang. In addition, the women
apparently also liberally purveyed their physical charms, further proof
that from early times prostitution and the theatre (to use the term loosely)
were closely linked in Japan. Little is known about puppetry during the
next few centuries, although there appears to have been a revival of 190 The Flourishing of a Bourgeois Culture interest in it during the fourteenth century as a result of the importation
of string-operated puppets from China.
The mature art of bunraku, as it was developed in the late sixteenth
and seventeenth centuries, has been defined by Donald Keene as “a
form of storytelling, recited to a musical accompaniment and embodied
by puppets on a stage.”20 Of the three main elements of bunraku—storytelling, musical accompaniment, and the use of puppets—it is the storytelling (and, to a lesser extent, its musical accompaniment) that is of
greatest importance in the history of Japanese culture. Puppetry was a
minor theatrical form that was used to supplement th...
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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 UBC.
- Spring '13