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Kabuki's Forgotten War1931-1945$
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James R. Brandon

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824832001

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824832001.001.0001

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Kabuki and the Marco Polo Bridge Incident

Kabuki and the Marco Polo Bridge Incident


(p.68) Chapter Three Kabuki and the Marco Polo Bridge Incident
Kabuki's Forgotten War

James R. Brandon

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter focuses on the kabuki theater response to Japan's reactivated war against China. In late summer 1937 the Kwantung Army instigated the incident at Marco Polo Bridge (Lugouqiao), launching an all-out offensive against China designed to force the Nationalists to sue for peace. The government's new aim was to incorporate all of China into the Japanese Empire—peacefully if possible, but if not, imperial forces were prepared to conquer China by their superior arms and valor. The war stimulated kabuki artists and managers to produce a remarkable outpouring of overnight pickle war plays over the coming year and a half. The creation of new plays seems to have been a direct, visceral response to the clamorous war news and not necessarily a product of the government's spiritual mobilization campaign.

Keywords:   kabuki plays, kabuki theater, Marco Polo Bridge Incident, war plays, wartime Japan, China, pickle war plays

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