Love Suicides”: A Special Product of Popular Theatre and a Strategic Response for Class Exclusion in Edo Period, Japan (1600-1868)


The Japanese puppet theatre probably was professionally shaped in form, performance regulations, and inventions during the 17th. This theatre could be considered one of the special products of the Edo period in which there is a perfect combination among three different elements: storytellers, a shamisen musician, and puppeteers. Under the rule of the Tokugawa family, this stage had been strictly censored and controlled due to being considered a dangerous, unofficial art form. Chikamatsu is the foremost playwright of popular Japanese drama. He devoted his life to puppet theater with more than one hundred plays written for both jidaimono and sewamono. In this paper, by analyzing Chikamatsu's two plays “Love Suicides at Sonezaki” (1703) and “Love Suicide at Amijima (1721), we would like to resolve two following questions: Why this topic could be considered a strategic response to class exclusion? and How could this topic respond to the contemporary dominant ideology? To resolve these issues, we are going to apply the theory of the British Culture Studies School regarding to popular culture. The major content of this paper would focus on a struggle of Ninjo against Giri as a special way to resist the social orders as well as moral standards in the Edo period.

Author Information
Huong Thi Nguyen, University of Arkansas, United States

Paper Information
Conference: ACCS2019
Stream: Cultural Studies

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon