A Chronicle of the Times: Politics and Modern

January 6, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Social Science, Psychology
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A Chronicle of the Times: Politics and Modern Japanese Theatre Guohe Zheng Modern Languages and Classics March 19, 2012

Quotes • “[T]he drama is a chronicle and brief abstract of the time, revealing not only the surface but the whole material and spiritual structure of an epoch.” --Eric Bentley, The Playwright as Thinker • “The New Theatre movement provides such a chronicle for Japan, and every confusion of the modern period is mirrored in its activities.” –Thomas Rimer, Toward a Modern Japanese Theatre

Definitions of Key Words • Politics: from Greek “πολιτικός, politikos” “of, for, or relating to citizens,” a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. Used in Japanese literature/theatre, it refers to an ideology or control of the government. • Modern Japanese theatre: shingeki 新劇 in Japanese, literally “new theatre”

Origin of Shingeki -Literary Society (Bungei Kyokai , 1906-1913), by Tsubouchi Shoyo (1859-1935) and Shimamura Hogetsu (1871-1918). Matsui Sumako (18861919), A Doll’s House, Resurrection, Katyusha's song

Origin of Shingeki • Free Theatre (Jiyu gekijo, 1909-1919) by Osanai Kaoru (1881-1928) and Ichikawa Sadanji II (1880-1940), Ibsen’s John Gabriel Borkman

Official Start of Shingeki, 1924 Kanto Earthquake (September 1, 1923)

Official Start of Shingeki • Hijikata Yoshi (1898-1959) and Tsukiji Little Theatre, the theatre and the company

Declaration of shingeki: May 1924 • Shingeki developed not as an extension of traditional Japanese theatre forms but through a deliberate rupture with them. It aims at producing a thoroughly realistic theatre in the spirit of Ibsen and Chekhov, and at eschewing the “irrationality” of premodern Japanese theatre forms.

Kabuki, Noh, and Puppet Threatre

Shingeki: Realistic drama

Opening of Tsukiji Shogekijo June 13, 1924 • Tomoda Kyosuke (1899-1937), Maruyama Sadao (1901-1945), Yamamoto Yasue (19061993)

Two Years of Translated Plays 1924-1926 • Reinhard Goering’s Sea Battle, antiwar • Georg Kaiser’s From Morning to Midnight How a cashier’s life is corrupted by money • Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard Rise of the middle class after the abolition of serfdom in the mid-19th century Russia and the decline of the aristocracy

Politics and Shingeki: Influence of Russian October Revolution (1917)

Influence of Marxism • Senda Koreya (1904-1994), Kubo Sakae (19001958), Murayama Tomoyoshi (1901-1977), Fujimori Seikichi (1892-1977), Hirasawa Keishichi (1889-Sept. 3, 1923)

Proletarian Theatre • Hirasawa’s Worker’s Theatre: “The poorest theatre in Japan, actors are nameless coming onto the stage with their working cloths on. Scripts are by nameless playwrights. However, this poor theatre company is proud to present the art dealing with labor issues and performing our real life experience on the stage.”

Created Leftwing Plays Staged • Fujimori Sekichi: What Caused Her to Do That? (1927) Renamed Kanojo • Murayama Tomoyoshi: An Account of a Terrorist Gang (1929)Renamed The Frontline • Kobayashi Takiji (1903-1933): Cannery Boat (1929), The Absentee Landlord (1930) • Tokunao Sunao (1899-1958): Street without Sunlight (1930)

Split of Tsukiji Shogekijo • Death of Osanai Kaoru December 1928 • Shin Tsukiji Gekidan (a newly formed company) • Gekidan Tsukiji Shogekijo (formed by remaining members)

Leftwing Theatres/Organizations • • • •

Japan Proletarian Theatre League (PROT) Tokyo Left-Wing Theatre Pioneer Theatre, Avant-Garde Theatre NAPF (All-Japan Federation of Proletarian Arts, 192831) • KOPF (Japan Proletarian Culture Federation, 1931-34) • The New Tsukiji Theatre /New Cooperative Theatre (The two representative Shingeki companies) • Trunk Theatre (1924-6)

Government Suppression Kobayashi Takiji’s torture and death

Public Security Preservation Law • A series of laws enacted during the Empire of Japan. Collectively, the laws were designed to suppress political dissent. • 1894保安条例 • 1900治安警察法 • 1925治安維持法 1931 Manchurian Incident 1937 Sino-Japanese War broke out 1941 Pacific War Abolished 9/22/1945; Release of Communists

Split of Shingeki into Two Schools • Kishida Kunio (1890-1954)’s psychological realism: “We wish to avoid both the [traditional] theatrical atmosphere… as well as the radical elements in the New Theatre Movement. We wish to create a theatre with an intimate connection with the emotional realities of contemporary life.” • Kubo Sakae (1900-1958)’s social realism: “Our realism captures the innermost truths of the man and society and...[w]ithout reducing them to stereotypes and without vulgarization, we clarify them and formulate them with artistry and style.”

Crackdown and Tenko • August 19, 1940, Crackdown on the two major shingeki companies, the New Tsukiji and the Shinkyo Gekidan, arresting over 100 members. • Many had been arrested before but released after committing tenko • Murayama Tomoyoshi • Kubo Sakae

Neither School Could Do What It Advocated Kishida Kunio founded Literary Theatre in 1937 and became the Cultural Minister of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association in 1940.

Mobile Theatre and War Casualties • Actor’s certificate to pursue art • Tomoda Kyosuke, killed in battled in Shanghai in December 1937. • Maruyama Sadao, killed in Hiroshima by the atomic bomb in August 1945 while on a tour leading the mobile theatre named Sakura. • Tsukiji Shogekijo renamed National Theatre in 1940, which was burned down on March 10, 1945 during B-29 bombing of Tokyo.

Mobile Theatre • Memorial Monument, Sonoi Keiko (1913-45) • Reenacted scene on stage (1997) when New National Theatre was opened

During the Occupation (1945-1952) • Sweeping Revival of Shingeki • Kubo Sakae and War Responsibilities • The Nature of the Occupation, bestowed freedom • Cold War and the Reverse Course of the Occupation • JCP and the Occupation policies: liberatordemocratic revolution under occupation-go underground-calling for armed struggle

A Chronicle of the Times • Morimoto Kaoru (1912-1946)’s A Woman’s Life • Commission in Nov. 1944 • Premiered in April 1945 • 2nd October 1946 • 3rd, 1952 • Production in China, 1960

A Woman’s Life as National Theatre Various stages of the piece

Underground Theatre Movement of the 1960s and Later • Stalinism • Anti-Anpo Movement of 1960 Treaty of Mutual Coop and Security b/t US and Japan

• Disillusion with Japanese Communist party and the old leftwing • 1986, Chernobyl nuclear accident • 1990, the collapse of the Soviet Union • 1990s, the break of the economic bubble

Hirata Oriza’s Quiet Theatre (1982-) • No theme • Contemporary colloquial Japanese, not translated Japanese, genuinely realistic Japanese language spoken as in daily life • No light change, no music, no stage effects • Small ripples in human psychology • Topics on eternal human concerns • Seinendan /A House on Fire, or An Inferno

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