By Ayako Kano (auth.)
Weaving jointly cautious readings of performs and experiences, memoirs and interviews, biographies and demanding essays, performing Like a girl in glossy Japan lines the emergence of the 1st iteration of recent actresses in Japan, a country within which male actors had lengthy ruled the general public degree. What emerges is a colourful and intricate photo of recent eastern gender, theater, and nationhood. utilizing the lives and careers of 2 dominant actresses from the Meiji period, Kano unearths the fantasies, fears, and impression that girls on level created in Japan because it entered the 20 th century.
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Additional info for Acting Like a Woman in Modern Japan: Theater, Gender, and Nationalism
Answers vary. What is clear from these documents is that an actress is valued in so far as she can distance herself from sex work, but that she is constantly suspected of being no different from those women who sell sexual performances. It is significant that this entire debate on actresses is taking place against the background of nation-building. This becomes clear in the arguments of several critics. If, as these critics insist, it goes without saying that a real woman would be better to perform women's roles, why should there be any need for onnagata?
In the failure, or refusal, of Sadayakko's life to fit the mold of the "good wife, wise mother," in the tension between the process of wifeing and the irrepressible abundance of social and sexual liaisons that characterized Sadayakko's life, we may glimpse the contradictions inherent in the process of gendering the modern nation-state. THREE ROLES OF GEISHA, ACTRESS, MISTRESS Geisha, actress, and mistress-these are the three consecutive occupations, all situated at the margins of society, that comprised Sadayakko's life.
Further, the absence of physical capability for biological motherhood does not prevent anyone, including a man, from being able to represent ideal femininity. If anything, the capacity for biological motherhood is associated with lack of femininity: Female sex does not guarantee feminine gender, and might indeed be antithetical to it. " 42 This is in stark contrast to the modern definition of woman, shaped in the period under investigation here, in which gender is perceived as subordinate to sex, the former derived from the latter and grounded on it.
Acting Like a Woman in Modern Japan: Theater, Gender, and Nationalism by Ayako Kano (auth.)