Bunraku has fascinated theatre practitioners through its particular forms of staging, such as highly elaborated manipulation of puppets and exquisite coordination of chanters and shamisen players. However, Bunraku lacks scholarship dedicated to translating not only the language but also cultural barriers of this work.
In this book, Odanaka and Iwai tackle the wealth of bunraku plays underrepresented in English through rexamining their siginifcance on a global scale. Little is written on the fact that bunraku theatre, despites its elegant figures of puppets and exotic stories, was often made as a place to manifest the political concerns of playwrights in the 18th century, hence a reflection of the audience's expectation that could not have materialized outside the theatre.
Japanese Political Theatre in the 18th Century aims to make bunraku texts readable for those who are interested in the political and cultural implications of this revered theatre tradition.
List of figures
1. The Dramaturgy of Bunraku
2. The Battles of Coxinga: The Self-image of Early Modern Japan
3. A Courtly Mirror of Ashiya Dōman: the Echoes of a Shadowy Domain
4. Sugawara and the Secrets of Calligraphy: The Emperor and the Stability of Society
5. Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees: Re-appropriating History
6. The Treasury of Loyal Retainers: Money Can Buy You Loyalty
7. The Genji Vanguard in Ōmi Province: The Osaka People are Indomitable!
8. Mount Imo and Mount Se: Precepts for Women: Eros and Politics
9. Travel Game while Crossing Iga: Individuality on the Margin of Society
Appendix: Periodization of the History of Japan and its Major Geographical Traits