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Kabuki's Forgotten War1931-1945$
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James R. Brandon

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824832001

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824832001.001.0001

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date: 16 December 2018

Inventing Classic Kabuki

Inventing Classic Kabuki


(p.345) Chapter Twelve Inventing Classic Kabuki
Kabuki's Forgotten War

James R. Brandon

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter discusses kabuki during the postwar years. It argues that after Japan surrendered, kabuki playwrights and producers might have altered the content of new plays to reflect and articulate the new individualistic, democratic society being instituted under American Occupation “guidance.” But Shōchiku Corporation officials never abandoned the wartime morality that they had followed for fifteen years. It did not join the brave social revolution in women's rights, landownership, union organization, voting rights, and other areas of Japanese life. With minor exceptions it did not commission new kabuki plays to carry a democratic message. Neither did it offer prizes for the best new kabuki overnight pickle plays about postwar Japan. The Occupation attempted to dominate and hence change kabuki. But kabuki changed only as its Shōchiku managers wished. Kabuki resisted and in the end forced Occupation officials to leave it alone.

Keywords:   kabuki theater, kabuki plays, Japan, Shōchiku Corporation, social revolution

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