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Download Danjūrō’s Girls: Women on the Kabuki Stage by Loren Edelson (auth.) PDF

By Loren Edelson (auth.)

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Though he had acquired a reputation as an opponent of actors from the minor theatres, he does not appear to have held a bias against female actors let alone Kumehachi. One commentator later quoted Danjūrō as acknowledging that his wishes for women on the kabuki stage had been left unfulfilled. 65 Following Danjūrō’s example, several actors—Onoe Baikō VI (1870–1934), Ichikawa Sadanji II, Sawamura Gennosuke IV (1859–1936), 34 Danjūrō’s Girls and Sawamura Sōjūrō VII (1875–1949), to name a few—began to admit women into their respective schools in the early twentieth century.

Thus the Azuma-za and, by extension, Kumehachi, had the green light to go ahead and produce mixed performances. Contrary to expectations that the edict would facilitate joint performances between Danjūrō and Kumehachi, no productions appear to have taken place. In fact, the year following the promulgation of the edict, in 1891, Kumehachi was expelled from the Naritaya house for performing Benkei in The Subscription List, one of the Naritaya house’s “Eighteen Favorites” (jūhachiban), without Danjūrō’s permission.

Many actors bow their heads until it is their time to speak. Depending on the occasion, the remarks can be brief or lengthy. It is possible that Danjūrō would have made some kind of announcement—with or without all the pomp and circumstance—from the stage to mark the felicitous occasion, but there is no evidence that a naming ceremony took place. 37 Sometime later, perhaps not until several years after their father’s death, they took the stage names by which they would be known for the rest of their lives.

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