Centuries after their inception, the Japanese theater arts of Kabuki, Noh and Bunraku are still being performed; sets, makeup, roles and costumes are renewed by succeeding generations. Rarely, if ever, are they performed outside of Japan. Here we offer items that capture the living traditions of these arts in woodcuts, drawings, photo illustrations and text, preserving what we can of these cultural treasures. Japanese theatre has also grown beyond its traditional forms to include works by contemporary masters. Highlights include a large archive of material by Oda Otoya, a scenic master of contemporary theater, over 500 issues of a Kabuki fanzine and a peek behind the scenes of Actors Without Makeup.
Boston Book Company: Catalogues
These little souvenirs of travel from the late 1800s to early 1900s still hold their charm over a century later and some hold their own in terms of literary merit, such as stories by Lafcadio Hearn and volumes of classical and modern verse by established poets. As well as whimsical folklore and fairy tales, they record daily life in Japan as witnessed by expatriates who called Japan their home. All are illustrated with beautiful woodblock prints in vivid or limpid colors. Earlier fairy tales are on plain paper and later volumes on the visually and tactilely appealing creped paper.
Issued by the publisher, T. Hasegawa, who had the vision and marketing skills to reach audiences first in Japan and then beyond into East Asia, Europe and the United States, with these wildly successful books.
The list begins with sets of the fairy tale series and follows with plain and crepe paper versions of individual titles, single titles on culture, and a set of poetry volumes with creped covers, all but one with English text.
Click on the thumbnail photos to enter the world of Chirimen-bon - crepe paper books. View Online
It is simple-minded perhaps to propose the example of Japanese tourists from the recent past as a proof of the cultural importance of travel in traditional Japan... Eyewitnesses to a world "beyond history" in the 90s, tourists from Japan cruised everywhere, armed with wonderful cameras and a desire to duplicate every "wish you were here" postcard ever created.... but with a personal touch of some loved one giving the peace sign in front of Versailles or the Kremlin or Victoria Falls.…One may laugh at such a comparison, but the desire to record the beauties of nature, to participate in sampling local cuisine, local customs, local handcrafts of great skill has not disappeared. Spend some time with everyday TV in Japan and you will see much that resonates with that desire to explore…. From home, virtually, as well as in reality. And the brush.... through scrolls and paintings, could be seen as the virtual tool/media of the day as the computer/TV is today... View Online
20th Century Japan