Urban Mirror, Kabuki's reflection of Tokugawa social trends
Praisley, Leslie Lawrence
Master of Arts
MetadataShow full item record
The Tokugawa period (1615-1868) ushered in an era of unprecedented peace and unity for Japan, a nation that had been engulfed by several hundred years of internal warfare. It was during this unique period of time that the theatrical performance of kabuki blossomed, and became a prominent feature of Japanese society. Although kabuki drew its roots from Bunraku (puppet plays) and No, it differed from these two theatrical styles as it was entertainment patronized primarily by the commoners of urban Japan. The presence of large numbers of commoners is an aspect of kabuki that begins to shed light on its cultural importance. At the present time, there are numerous studies dealing with kabuki; however, kabuki theatre as a reflection of Tokugawa society has been relatively neglected. This study will not attempt to refute the importance owed to social, economic and political changes during the period of early modern Japan in the development of kabuki. Instead, the intent of this work is to demonstrate how kabuki can be used as a mirror through which to view certain trends of Tokugawa Japan.