December 4, 2015/ 4:00 PM

Kabuki Studies in the Digital Age

with Kabuki Playbills from the UCLA Library Collection

Presentation by Arisa Aoki, doctoral candidate from Waseda University

"Kabuki is a traditional form of Japanese theater with a more than 400-year history. For the past two decades, research into kabuki as a performing art has developed with the digitalization of materials, principally playbills, ukiyo-e prints, critiques, and scripts. Kabuki playbills are the most fundamental of these materials since they show the titles and performance records of the plays. They can be found not only in Japanese libraries and museums but also all over the world. The UCLA library has 101 playbills from the late 18th century to the late 19th century, which I investigated for digitalization as a new digital collection of the UCLA library. First, I trace the history of academic kabuki studies in Japan. Second, I present how I investigated the playbills of UCLA library. In conclusion, I explain the limits of current studies of kabuki plays in the 18th and 19th centuries and how they could be developed through the use of playbills, ukiyo-e, and scripts."