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Professor Chieko Hiranoi: What is Expected for Kabuki Performances Overseas? Programmes and Venues

  • Room G.05, 50 George Square, University of Edinburgh (map)

Speaker: Professor Chieko Hiranoi (Hosei University) 
Date: Friday, February 10th, 17:00-19:00
Venue: Room G.05, 50 George Square, University of Edinburgh


This presentation will discuss the history of kabuki performances overseas and the outstanding aspects of its recent trends, both in terms of programmes and venues. The first kabuki performance overseas took place in 1928 in the Soviet Union with a great variety of items on the programme, including jidai mono(historical plays), sewa mono (contemporary plays in Edo era), shosa mono (kabuki dancing) and even shin kabuki (kabuki drama written by authors with another profession who were not involved with any specific kabuki theatre). They might have struggled to understand the expectations overseas about kabuki. During the ninety years to date, some items have been added or repeated and others have disappeared from kabuki repertoires for overseas performances. However, it is quite common that each performance has tended to consist of shosa mono or extracts from a long drama. On the other hand, Nakamura Kanzaburo XVIII (Nakamura Kankuro V) started a series of overseas performances by Heisei Nakamura-za in 2004 showing the entire drama of Natsu Matsuri Naniwa Kagami with a modern director, Kushida Kazuyoshi. Although Kanzaburo XVIII passed away in 2012, the idea of performing an entire drama overseas has been passed on to his sons. This presentation will contribute to analyzing expectations overseas about kabuki.

Chieko Hiranoi is Professor in the Faculty of Humanity and Environment, at Hosei University in Tokyo, Japan, teaching comparative theatre and regional theatre in Japan. Her research interests include British theatre, Japanese theatre, regional theatre, theatre festivals and dramatic works applied to education. Her most recent publications related to the presentation are "A Shameless Priest Travelling Overseas -The Entertainment of Hokaiboor Sumidagawa Gonichi no Omokage-" and "Aida as a Drama: Aida Directed by Olivier Py and Noda Kabuki Version of Princess Aida". She is currently conducting research on Edinburgh festivals and theatres in Edinburgh, being associated with Asian Studies, the University of Edinburgh, from April 2016 to March 2017.