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An Ordered System: The Later Eighteenth And Nineteenth Centuries

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses Kawatake Shigetoshi's Period of Greatness for kabuki playwriting. This period saw many changes, both chronologically and regionally. Following a gradual move towards more emphasis on playwriting, as opposed to playmaking, we can understand Kawatake's general summary of the period as a time when the script attained its form and function as integral to kabuki production. The growing presence of playwrights and diversification of their work was evident in both Kamigata and Edo. An annual production schedule developed under a hierarchy of playwrights, with each member carrying out specialized duties. The Tenmei Period (1781-1789), launched the creative burst of Kawatake's Period of Greatness. It was the second period, following Genroku, of tremendous creative development in kabuki. The chapter deals with the top three levels of playwrights: the lead playwright (tate sakusha), the second-ranked playwright (nimaime), and the third-ranked playwright (sanmaime), who worked on the actual writing of plays.

Keywords: kabuki playwriting; Kawatake Shigetoshi; lead playwright; Period of Greatness; playmaking



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