By Ayako Kano (auth.)

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

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

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28 If onnagata insist on cutting their hair short, he concludes, we need actresses to take their place. This is indeed a "daring" argument. It opens a whole new can of worms, raising questions about the sexual status of impersonators in premodern times, about the status of the feminine characteristics that these impersonators seemed to have in the past but have lost in modern times, about the status of the sexual attractiveness of onnagata acting like women, which can be replaced by the sexual attractiveness of actresses acting like women.

Questio n 4: Why did she stop acting? The first two questions concern her "private life" or relationships with men, the last two questions concern her "public life" or acting career. As will be explained below, the first two questions are often answered in a way that explains Sadayakko's life through the logic of romantic love; the last two questions are often answered in a way that subordinates her acting career to that of her husband . Moreover, all four questions arise out of the process of "wifeing" in which the biographers attempt to fit Sadayakko's life into a neat nars rative of lifelong heterosexual monoga mous union.

The solution is to build a different kind of theater with a stage that is tall and not too wide and that is also small enough to benefit from women's softer voices. 16 Another solution is for actresses to learn to disguise their shortness. Just as onnagata have learned through long study and training how to disguise their tall physiques, actresses should be able to create the illusion of height, too. 17 But this kind of emphasis on architecture and artistic illusion over physical features was a minority viewpoint.

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