Beautiful Boys Outlaw Bodies: Devising Kabuki by Katherine Mezur

By Katherine Mezur

This e-book is a feminist analyzing of the background of gender functionality and development of the feminine function gamers, onnagata, of the Kabuki theater. it isn't restricted to a "theater arts" concentration, fairly it's a mapping and shut research of transformative genders via numerous old classes in Japan (the 17th throughout the 20th centuries). particularly, the paintings makes a speciality of undoing of binary genders, the sensual ambiguity of boy-ness, adolescence, and female-likeness and the cultural improvement of the aesthetics of eroticism, nostalgia, and cruelty dependent in female-like transformative gender acts. The paintings can also be a visible cultures examine because it attracts not just on literary resources but in addition prints, photos, movie, and video documentation.

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Something about the onnagata makes kabuki work. At the same time, he believes that onnagata can exist only within the kabuki context. That is, onnagata can live only in one particular time and space environment: a kabuki performance. Other scholarly works focus on individual onnagata and their stage lives—for example, Watanabe Tamotsu’s Onnagata no Unmei (Fate of an Onnagata), in which Watanabe describes the onnagata art and philosophy of contemporary Nakamura Utaemon VI (1917–2001); or Sandaimei Sawamura Tanosuke (Sawamura Tanosuke III), by the group Kabuki Wa Tomodachi (Kabuki Friends), a collection of essays on the life and art of the famous Meiji period onnagata, Sawamura Tanosuke III and his descendents.

Rather, onnagata perform stylized gender roles that engender their own fictions of the feminine and femininity, and their fictions stir the conscious and the unconscious with their ambiguity of gender. ” Pronko also takes up the point that I mentioned, that women could not play onnagata roles because they would be imitating the acts of men. 27 For example, Faubion Bowers argues that women continue to be absent from the kabuki stage because many dances require transformation into creatures that wear huge wigs and costumes and perform great physical feats.

These kata categories can be applied to onnagata gender acts as follows: general codes for female-likeness, more specific codes for onnagata gender role types, and the gender acts created and adapted by star performers for specific characters. 45 Kawatake Toshio, a Japanese kabuki scholar, also considers these to be the main styles of acting and the basic designations in the complex kabuki aesthetics of stylized beauty. 46 I believe there are significant differences between wagato and aragoto on the one hand and onnagata on the other.

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