Weaving together careful readings of plays and reviews, memoirs and interviews, biographies, and critical essays, "Acting Like a Woman in Modern Japan" traces the emergence of the first generation of modern actresses in Japan, a nation in which male actors had long dominated the public stage. What emerges is a colorful and complex picture of modern Japanese gender, theater, and nationhood. Using the lives and careers of two dominant actresses from the Meiji and Taisho eras, Ayako Kano reveals the fantasies, fears, and impact that women on stage created in Japan as it entered the 20th century.
'A sophisticated analysis of the relationship between the 'new theater,' the 'new woman,' the new nation, and the new empire in turn of the twentieth-century Japan, engagingly told through the stories of the two actresses who pioneered women (rather than men) playing women's roles on the Japanese stage. A meaningful and mesmerizing book.' - Carol Gluck, Columbia University