By the mid-1970s, full-play productions (tōshi kyōgen) of kabuki, which were central to the mission of the Kokuritsu Gekijō (National Theatre) when it opened in 1966, had noticeably declined in number. A more eclectic program approach began to dominate the schedule. Lack of money to put into complex tōshi kyōgen, lack of willing and able theatre personnel, and restive audiences have been suggested as causes. Yet they do not really explain what amounts to a reversal of policy. Rather, tōshi kyōgen as "authentic" kabuki at the Kokuritsu Gekijō had symbolized the postwar restoration and revival of Japanese culture as a whole. The history of the tōshi kyōgen project, in fact, can be traced back to the Occupation years-and to influential people such as Faubion Bowers and Onoe Kikugorō VI. Once an adequate degree of success had been achieved in producing tōshi kyōgen, the number of such productions quite logically diminished. The Kokuritsu Gekijō now faces a pressing task: to revitalize kabuki by incubating and nurturing new works.


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pp. 161-183
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