Kabuki’s Nineteenth Century: Stage and Print in Early Modern Edo

Third Thursday lecture - Sainsbury Institute

Thursday 18 January, 2024
6:00pm GMT - 7:00pm GMT


Online lecture via Zoom.
50 min lecture followed by Q&A.
Free and open to all, booking essential.
To check your time zone conversion if you are joining from outside the UK, click here.


Jonathan Zwicker (Associate Professor of Japanese Literature and Agassiz Professorship in Japanese, UC Berkeley)

About the Talk

This talk reexamines the theater of the nineteenth century in a way that shifts our critical focus from performance to print and the public sphere, embedding theater within the larger world of printed matter by means of which theatricality circulated far beyond the stage and through which performance and spectacle were most often consumed. The archive of printed material related to the theater in nineteenth-century Japan (playbills, actor critiques, theater guides, maps, actor prints, calendars, and broadsheets) is something more than—and more complicated than—a set of materials out of which we might reconstitute the always transient event of performance.  Rather, the archive constitutes an object of inquiry unto itself, an object that reveals as much about the interrelations between and among various printed media and genres circulating beyond the confines of the theater as it does about what happened on stage.

About the Speaker

Jonathan Zwicker is Associate Professor of Japanese Literature and Agassiz Chair in Japanese in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of Practices of the Sentimental Imagination: Melodrama, the Novel, and the Social Imaginary in Nineteenth-Century Japan (Harvard Asia Center, 2006) and Kabuki’s Nineteenth Century: Stage and Print in Early Modern Edo (Oxford, 2023).

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The Third Thursday Lecture series is funded by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and Yakult UK.