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Acting like a Woman in Modern Japan Theater, Gender and Nationalism by Ayako Kano

Acting like a Woman in Modern Japan Theater, Gender and Nationalism


Acting like a Woman in Modern Japan Theater, Gender and Nationalism by Ayako Kano

Weaving together careful readings of plays and reviews, memoirs and interviews, biographies and critical essays, Acting Like a Woman in Modern Japan traces the emergence of the first generation of modern actresses in Japan, a nation in which male actors had long dominated the public stage. What emerges is a colorful and complex picture of modern Japanese gender, theater, and nationhood. Using the lives and careers of two dominant actresses from the Meiji era, Kano reveals the fantasies, fears, and impact that women on stage created in Japan as it entered the twentieth century.


'A sophisticated analysis of the relationship between the 'new theater,'

'new woman,'
the new nation, and the new empire in turn of the twentieth

-century Japan, engagingly told through the stories of the two actresses who pioneered women (rather than men) playing women's roles on the Japanese stage. A meaningful and mesmerizing book.' - Carol Gluck, Columbia University

About the Author

AYAKO KANO is Assistant Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, where she teaches courses on Japanese theater, literature, and gender studies. She received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Cornell University. She is currently at work on a book about Japanese feminist debates.

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Book Info

Publication date

29th October 2001


Ayako Kano

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Palgrave Macmillan an imprint of Palgrave USA


322 pages


Cultural studies
Theatre studies



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