Download Danjūrō’s Girls: Women on the Kabuki Stage by Loren Edelson (auth.) PDF

By Loren Edelson (auth.)

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1749), and Nakamura Tomijūrō I (1719–1786). ” Such reasoning resonates with Maki Isaka’s thesis that onnagata relied on the direct imitation of femininity, as performed by “real” women of the Tokugawa period. ” She states, “Onnagata artistry was measured by the criterion of verisimilitude in everyday life. ”12 Yet, as many male-role specialists, including Danjūrō IX, expanded their repertoire to include female characters in the nineteenth century, the number of female-role specialists who acted as women offstage declined.

Rather than permitting women to perform onstage—which they already were doing—the edict was concerned with men and women performing together. It announced that henceforth the police would neither prohibit nor promote such performances from taking place. 28 Kumehachi’s wish to perform together with men appears to have been the impetus behind the edict. The text of the proclamation explains that the owner of the Azuma-za petitioned the Tokyo Metropolitan Police to permit mixed productions at the theatre.

The play is a vehicle for one actor to showcase technical skill and versatility. The actor first performs the challenging part of a dainty lady-in-waiting (Yayoi), who reveals herself in the second part of the play as the spirit of the lion. It demands graceful, light “feminine” steps in the first half and powerful, wild “masculine” movements in the second half. While this actor changes costume offstage, the butterflies enter and perform a short dance that sets the stage for the brilliant second half of the play.

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