"An Abomination to the Gods" and "A Jaw-Dropping Delight": Elite Responses to Rural Kabuki in the Late Tokugawa Period, 1720-1860

This talk traces the rise of rural kabuki traditions in early modern Japan and the diverse responses this development elicited among contemporary critics and commentators. For some, the corruption of rural traditions by urban popular culture was cause for grave concern. For others, the emergence of kabuki as a shared cultural property was an exciting development that opened up new avenues of engagement between Japan's urban centers and its rural peripheries.

Join us via ZOOM May 26 from 4-6pm 



William Fleming specializes in early modern Japanese literature. His primary interest is in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century fiction and the popular stage, in particular the representation of and engagement with unfamiliar cultures, whether those of rural Japan, Japan’s geographical peripheries, or overseas. He is currently completing a book manuscript in which he examines aspects of the importation, circulation, reading, and adaptation of Chinese fiction in early modern Japan. He completed his undergraduate and graduate studies at Harvard University and has spent time as a visiting researcher at Kyoto University, Waseda University, and the National Institute of Japanese Literature in Tokyo. Before joining the faculty at UCSB, he taught in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures and the Theater Studies Program at Yale University.