Article Title

Kabuki Today and Tomorrow


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

When in 1925 Zoe Kincaid published the first book in a western language devoted exclusively to kabuki, she called it Kabuki: The Popular Stage of Japan. Those of us who have attended kabuki in recent years have a right to question that adjective, for popular means both commonly liked and belonging to the people. Kabuki as it exists today belongs to an elite, and is commonly ignored. Lukewarm efforts are made to reach a new public by busing students to a performance at the National Theatre every July, and occasionally on Sunday mornings at the Kabuki-za. Visitors to Japan hopefully point out that there are more young people at the kabuki \oday than there were ten years ago. But the disheartening truth is that this exciting theatrical form is living on borrowed time and cannot without drastic surgery expect to survive into the future, except as a museum piece. During a 15 month stay in Japan, 1970-71, of roughly 500 young people whom I met casually, only five or six had ever seen kabuki.

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.