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Shakespeare On Show In Japan: An Anthropological Analysis Of Cultural Display

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Chapter Summary

In the town of Maruyama, on the tip of the Bōsō Peninsula is to be found a complete reproduction of William Shakespeare's birthplace. Inside the birthplace, there are representations of material life in the time of Shakespeare's youth, and as visitors walk through the house, a hostess explains various details of sixteenth-century English life. There is one major difference in the reconstruction of the Shakespearean family home in Japan, however, and this is the factor which brought it to the attention of an anthropologist, rather than just a tourist. In fact, Japan is rather good at cultural display. It is hardly surprising that a Western interpretation of cultural display became associated with nineteenth-century notions of progress, for technological progress is precisely what some of the Expositions, and later World's Fairs in America, were displaying.

Keywords: cultural display; Japan; western interpretation; William Shakespeare



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