By Katherine Mezur
This ebook is a feminist interpreting of the background of gender functionality and building of the feminine position gamers, onnagata, of the Kabuki theater. it's not restricted to a ''theater arts'' concentration, quite it's a mapping and shut research of transformative genders via numerous historic classes in Japan (the 17th during the 20th centuries). particularly, the paintings makes a speciality of undoing of binary genders, the sensual ambiguity of boy-ness, formative years, and female-likeness and the cultural improvement of the aesthetics of eroticism, nostalgia, and cruelty dependent in female-like transformative gender acts. The paintings is usually a visible cultures research because it attracts not just on literary assets but additionally prints, pictures, movie, and video documentation.
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Additional info for Beautiful Boys/Outlaw Bodies: Devising Kabuki Female-Likeness
Onnagata 36 B E AU T I F U L B O Y S gender roles represent a stylized fiction of female-likeness, or a fiction of Woman63 on the kabuki stage. My definition of onnagata gender roles echoes Butler’s definition of gender: Gender is the repeated stylization of the body, a set of repeated acts within a highly rigid regulatory frame that congeal over time to produce the appearance of substance, of a natural sort of being . . 64 An onnagata’s “gender performance,” then, is his enactment, or doing of his gender acts for the purpose of presenting a particular gender role in a kabuki performance.
Imitation of real women was never the goal, but just the opposite: onnagata amplified their potential for the artificial. 33 Earle Ernst suggests, in his volume The Kabuki Theatre (1954), a definition of onnagata art that supports the requirement of the male body beneath performing onnagata gender acts. In the following quote, what Ernst terms “patterns of expression” is similar to the idea of gender acts as discussed in this book: The Kabuki actor does not “create” roles in the manner of the contemporary Western actor; he rather, in his training, gradually disciplines his body in the inherited patterns of expression.
Bowers quotes how Koshiro IV addressed the question himself: “It is too late for women now to appear in Kabuki. A type of woman has been created and has become familiar in Kabuki. To change this would mean T H E O RY I N T O P E R F O R M A N C E 29 that Kabuki would lose its flavor. ”40 He explains that the onnagata’s gender acts are just one aspect of kabuki’s dominant aesthetics, which include such things as delight in the odd and irrational; emphasis of the symbol over the direct representation; stylization, which arises from a combination of dance and eroticism, to name a few that apply to onnagata gender act patterns.