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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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The Agony Ends

The Agony Ends


(p.296) Chapter Ten The Agony Ends
Kabuki's Forgotten War

James R. Brandon

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter discusses events surrounding the world of kabuki in 1945. These include the wholesale decline of kabuki theater in the first six months of 1945 due to the collapse of the Japanese Empire; the fall of Okinawa; and the bombing of Osaka and Tokyo. A national survey in 1943 reported that kabuki and other old plays accounted for just 10 percent of theater production nationwide. In 1945, production of “old plays” collapsed even further. Mainline kabuki actors were like helpless parents, watching their families scatter and stumble in the dark toward an uncertain future. Conditions were so chaotic in bombed-out Tokyo that from March through July, Shōchiku was able to mount just one commercial kabuki program. On the eve of surrender on August 14, three kabuki productions were running in Japan.

Keywords:   kabuki theater, Japanese Empire, World War II, bombing, Osaka, Tokyo, wartime Japan, plays

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