By Ayako Kano (auth.)

Weaving jointly cautious readings of performs and studies, memoirs and interviews, biographies and demanding essays, appearing Like a lady in glossy Japan lines the emergence of the 1st iteration of recent actresses in Japan, a country during which male actors had lengthy ruled the general public degree. What emerges is a colourful and intricate photo of contemporary eastern gender, theater, and nationhood. utilizing the lives and careers of 2 dominant actresses from the Meiji period, Kano finds the fantasies, fears, and influence that girls on level created in Japan because it entered the 20th century.

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Additional info for Acting Like a Woman in Modern Japan: Theater, Gender, and Nationalism

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But it is Matsui Sumako who should properly be called the pioneering actress [senkuteki joyu] of the new age, since the Imperial Theater's main purpose was kabuki training. " In theater history and women's history, Kawakami Sadayakko is a figure at the margins, a glamorous but distracting footnote. A closer look at this footnote, however, reveals a more complicated and interesting picture. Two processes, the modern formation of gender and the modern formation of performance, operate in and around the figure of this actress, defining the context and manner in which the figure speaks to us.

Western dress not only revealed the contours of the wearer, but it exposed hitherto hidden body parts such as the arms and the legs as well. In general, it seemed to draw attention to the body beneath the surface. In the 1910s, the popularization of cinema also contributed to the shift of focus: Cinematic close-ups of onnagata drew attention to body parts hitherto concealed through movement and distance, such as the prominent Adam's apple and the bony hands. 57 The visibility of the onnagata's body contributed to the onnagata's downfall: No longer disguised through clothing, movement, and distance, he lost the ability to achieve the ideal of feminine beauty and was replaced by the actress, whose body now became the privileged sign of womanhood.

3 Her role as pioneering actress in modern Japan is also often elided in these references, and attention is shifted to what came after her: The word "actress" is conventionally applied beginning with the Actress Training Institute, which Kawakami Sadayakko opened and then handed over 40 AcTING LIKE A WoMAN to the Imperial Theater. But it is Matsui Sumako who should properly be called the pioneering actress [senkuteki joyu] of the new age, since the Imperial Theater's main purpose was kabuki training.

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