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Dancer, Nun, Ghost, Goddess

The Legend of Giō and Hotoke in Japanese Literature, Theater, Visual Arts, and Cultural Heritage

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Roberta Strippoli

Dancer, Nun, Ghost, Goddess explores the story of the dancers Giō and Hotoke, which first appeared in the fourteenth-century narrative Tale of the Heike. The story of the two love rivals is one of loss, female solidarity, and Buddhist salvation. Since its first appearance, it has inspired a stream of fiction, theatrical plays, and visual art works. These heroines have become the subjects of lavishly illustrated hand scrolls, ghosts on the noh stage, and Buddhist and Shinto goddesses. Physical monuments have been built to honor their memories; they are emblems of local pride and centerpieces of shared identity. Two beloved characters in the Japanese literary imagination, Giō and Hotoke are also models that have instructed generations of women on how to survive in a male-dominated world.

Our Dogs, Our Selves

Dogs in Medieval and Early Modern Art, Literature, and Society

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Edited by Laura D. Gelfand

The ubiquity of references to dogs in medieval and early modern texts and images must at some level reflect their actual presence in those worlds, yet scholarly consideration of this material is rare and scattered across diverse sources. This volume addresses that gap, bringing together fifteen essays that examine the appearance, meaning, and significance of dogs in painting, sculpture, manuscripts, literature, and legal records of the period, reaching beyond Europe to include cultural material from medieval Japan and Islam. While primarily art historical in focus, the authors approach the subject from a range of disciplines and with varying methodology that ultimately reveals as much about dogs as about the societies in which they lived.
Contributors are Kathleen Ashley, Jane Carroll, Emily Cockayne, John Block Friedman, Karen M. Gerhart, Laura D. Gelfand, Craig A. Gibson, Walter S. Gibson, Nathan Hofer, Jane C. Long, Judith W. Mann, Sophie Oosterwijk, Elizabeth Carson Pastan, Donna L. Sadler, Alexa Sand, and Janet Snyder.

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Akiko Walley

Featuring the renowned seventh-century gilt-bronze Śākyamuni (Shaka) triad at the Hōryūji, Constructing the Dharma King reveals how the impression of a Buddhist image evolved in Yamato, Japan, from the indistinct sense of divine otherness at the early stage of the transmission to more concrete ideals and values concerning families, authority, and kingship.

According to the accompanying inscription, the Kashiwade, a low-ranking bureaucratic clan, commissioned the triad to commemorate the deaths of its family members. Considering the triad as an endpoint of a dynamic political re-envisioning spearheaded by Soga no Umako (d. 626) and the members of the Yamato sovereignty, Akiko Walley argues that the Kashiwade constructed the Shaka triad not simply as a private act of devotion, but a pivotal political act that demonstrated their allegiance and loyalty. This publication contends that the appearance of the Shaka triad was chosen to echo the new vision of a “Dharma King” that was manifested in Prince Umayato as the political persona orchestrated by Umako, and in the preceding Shaka triad statue at Asukadera produced by Umako and his closest allies. In the course of discussion, this book also reexamines the key points of debate surrounding this statue, including the reliability of the accompanying inscription, identity of its makers, and the statue’s ties to the sculptural trends on the Asian continent.

To My Dear Pieternelletje

Grandfather and Granddaughter in VOC Time, 1710-1720

Bea Brommer

To my dear Pieternelletje describes a ten-year period in the lives of Pieternella van Hoorn and her grandfather Willem van Outhoorn, former governor-general of the Dutch East Indies. Eleven years old, Pieternella left for Amsterdam and the only contact possible was by mail.

Numerous letters have survived and combined with contemporaneous documents, most of them never published before, they offer a vivid and clear picture of their private life and feelings, forming a most welcome addition to official VOC-history.

Van Outhoorn not only acted as Pieternella’s mentor while she tried to adjust to her new but unknown fatherland, but also sent her numerous exquisite presents, the greater part of which has been traced and described in full, thus offering new insight in the cultural history of Asia.

The Shakuhachi

Roots and Routes

Henry Johnson

The shakuhachi is a traditional Japanese end-blown bamboo flute with a long history in a wide array of social, cultural, and geographic spheres. This book unravels some of the roots and routes connected with the shakuhachi, and discusses instrument types, construction process, social transmission, and performance practice. From the use of the instrument in court music from at least the eighth century, to the modern era that sees international shakuhachi festivals and workshops the world over, the instrument has been recontextualized in various social and cultural spheres. This book depicts and explains some of these contexts and transformations, and documents some of the many ways the shakuhachi has traveled to, within, and beyond its traditional cultural home.

Kunisada's Tōkaidō

Riddles in Japanese Woodblock Prints

Andreas Marks

The Tōkaidō highway, connecting Edo with Kyoto, was the most vital thoroughfare in Japan. Its cultural presence in pre- to early modern Japanese society led to the publication of woodblock print series, such as the widely known landscape prints by Hiroshige, that took this famous road as their theme.
The prints of Utagawa Kunisada, the most sought-after woodblock print designer of his day, represent a different treatment of the Tōkaidō, in which popular kabuki actors in specific roles are paired with Tōkaidō post stations. This study discusses the phenomenon of serialization in Japanese prints outlining its marketing mechanisms and concepts. It then proceeds to unravel Kunisada’s pairings of post-stations and kabuki roles,
which served as puzzles for his audience to decipher. Finally, this study analyses Kunisada’s methods when he invented and developed these patterns.
Kunisada’s Tōkaidō is a valuable visual source for the print collector, illustrating over 700 prints and it has been selected for an Honorable Mention at the 2014 IFPDA (International Fine Print Dealers Association) Book Award.

Kabuki at the Crossroads

Years of Crisis, 1952-1965

Samuel L. Leiter

Samuel L. Leiter's Kabuki at the Crossroads: Years of Crisis, 1952-1965 is the first detailed account of Japan's kabuki theatre in the years immediately following the end of the Occupation. It examines every aspect of this traditional theatre as it struggled to maintain its position in a rapidly changing postwar entertainment environment. It covers acting rivalries, major productions, theatres, international tours, the convention of men playing female roles, name-taking and memorial ceremonies, the company system and managerial strategies. In addition, the volume includes numerous appendixes chronicling the period, including a thorough chronology and 150 summaries of new plays never previously discussed in English.

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Yui Suzuki

This profusely illustrated volume illuminates the primacy of icons in disseminating the worship of the Medicine Master Buddha (J: Yakushi Nyorai) in Japan. Suzuki’s meticulous study explicates how the devotional cult of Yakushi, one of the earliest Buddhist cults imported to Japan from the continent, interacted and blended with local beliefs, religious dispositions, and ritual practices over the centuries, developing its own distinctive imprint on Japanese soil. Worship of the Medicine Master Buddha became most influential during the Heian period (794–1185), when Yakushi’s popularity spread to different levels of society and locales outside the capital. The large number of Heian-period Yakushi statues found all across Japan demonstrates that Yakushi worship was an integral component of Heian religious practice.

Medicine Master Buddha focuses on the ninth-century Tendai master Saichō (767–822) and his personal reverence for a standing Yakushi icon. The author proposes that, after Saichō’s death, the Tendai school played a critical role in popularizing the cult of this particular icon as a way of memorializing its founding master and strengthening its position as a major school of Japanese Buddhism. This publication offers a fresh perspective on sculptural representations of the Medicine Master Buddha (including the famous Jingoji Yakushi), and in so doing, reconsiders Yakushi worship as foundational to Heian religious and artistic culture.