Performing Japan

Contemporary Expressions of Cultural Identity

For the first time, using an interdisciplinary, theoretical and ethnographic approach, the editors have brought together a rich collection of current research on contemporary Japanese performance practices. Topics covered include theatre, music, art, fashion and technology, media, architecture and tourism. Well illustrated, Performing Japan will provide added-value in introductory courses on the Japanese language, history, or culture, as well as Asian Studies in general. In addition, it offers valuable comparative references in the context of theatre, music and dance classes which either introduce Japanese forms or focus entirely on the performing traditions of Japan. The fourteen contributors include Joy hendry, Roy Starrs, Peter Eckersall, Kimi Coaldrake, Henry Johnson and Jerry C. Jaffe.
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Biographical Note

Henry Johnson is Professor at the University of Otago, New Zealand, where he teaches ethnomusicology, Asian studies and performing arts studies. His recent publications include The Koto: A Traditional Instrument in Contemporary Japan (2004) and Asia in the Making of New Zealand (2006).
Jerry C. Jaffe is Senior Lecturer in Theatre Studies at the University of Otago, New Zealand. He is also Programme Coordinator of the university’s Performing Arts Studies Programme. He has previously published in the areas of Japanese culture and performance studies in journals such as Theatre Annual.

Review Quotes

'... Performing Japan is an attractively presented volume with the text supported by beautifully reproduced colour plates illuminating several of the essays and in some cases providing necessary visual examples [...] Johnson and Jaffe have created an invaluable resource for further study of Japanese performance, and contributed to debates about the complex connections between art, cultural identity and politics.' David O'Donnell, Australasian Drama Studies , 57 (October 2010), pp. 228-231.

Table of contents

Foreword; List of Contributors; List of Illustrations; Introduction; PART I: Tradition and Transformation; 1 Ink Traces of the Dancing Calligraphers: Zen-Ei Sho in Japan Today; 2 Taiko Today: Performing Soundscapes, Landscapes and Identities; 3 Miki's 'Autumn Fantasy' (1980): International, Japanese or Asian?; 4 Beyond the Court: A Challenge to the Gagaku Tradition in the 'Reconstruction Project' of the National Theatre; 5 Spring Day, Stone Age and the Search for an Essential Japan by Koike Hiroshi; PART II: Place and Identity; 6 Shakespeare on Show in Japan: An Anthropological Analysis of Cultural Display; 7 Twenty-First-Century Enjoyment Plaza: Private Space and Contemporary Arts in Mori's World; 8 Performing Identity in Yaeyama: The Case of the Sash; 9 Recontextualizing Eisa: Transformations in Religious, Competition, Festival and Tourism Contexts; PART III: Popular Culture, Technology and Consumerism; 10 Local Performance of Global Sound: More than the Musical in Japanese Hardcore Rock; 11 When is Japanese, Japanese? A Tale of Two Musicians; 12 Internalizing Digital Phenomena: The 'Performing' Body at the Intersection of Japanese Culture and Technology; 13 Rising Sun, Setting Trends: Fashioning Britishness In, and For, Japan; Index


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