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1. Women, Tradition and Politics in Japanese Classical Theatre

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Elite rule requires a monopolistic retention of the political resources upon which the rule is maintained. In the traditional dramatic arts of Japan, noh and kabuki, the resources of the prestige of tradition, names, knowledge, experience, secrets, access and publicity have been controlled exclusively by and for the male members of acting families. Female roles continue to be played by men even though Japanese women have provided ample evidence of their talent and success in other forms of Japanese drama. This is not a unique phenomenon, but instead is representative of a pervasive sexual inequality in Japanese society.

Affiliations: 1: Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.; 2: Lewis and Clark College, Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.


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