By Katherine Mezur

This booklet is a feminist examining of the background of gender functionality and building of the feminine position gamers, onnagata, of the Kabuki theater. it's not constrained to a ''theater arts'' concentration, fairly it's a mapping and shut research of transformative genders via numerous old sessions in Japan (the 17th throughout the 20th centuries). particularly, the paintings makes a speciality of undoing of binary genders, the sensual ambiguity of boy-ness, formative years, and female-likeness and the cultural improvement of the aesthetics of eroticism, nostalgia, and cruelty established in female-like transformative gender acts. The paintings is additionally a visible cultures learn because it attracts not just on literary resources but additionally prints, images, movie, and video documentation.

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Extra resources for Beautiful Boys/Outlaw Bodies: Devising Kabuki Female-Likeness

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60 While all kabuki roles are made up of stylized gender acts, I focus on the specific characteristics that distinguish the onnagata gender acts from other gender acts. The distinctive feature of onnagata gender acts is the communication of iroke (sensual allure). Although certain male gender role types may also emphasize iroke, it is an essential aesthetic attribute for every onnagata role type. 61 Over time, the sensual acts of onnagata became more subtle, obscuring their overt eroticism. Nonetheless, sensuality remains central to onnagata gender acts, and performers have gradually fashioned their own versions of stylized sensual allure.

Onnagata” is not usually associated with any one region, nor is it applied to a general style for certain roles in a play. 47 The three styles share certain performance strategies and could all be classifications for acting styles or different genders. All three are based on, and were created by, a male body beneath. All three have distinct stylized acts: movement, costuming, and makeup techniques that specify and amplify their special characteristics: aragoto, wild style; wagoto, gentle style; and onnagata, female-like style.

31 Scott regards the onnagata as a creation of the male actor whose imitation of women has been refined and transformed into acts only a male body can perform. I think his argument might also include the erotic sensuality in his male identified attributes of vigor and strength. Scott observes that onnagata appear to have set a stylized and artificial standard for all kabuki actors. If, as Scott claims, onnagata set “the degree of formality for the whole,”32 it follows that the total performance depends on the stylized gender acts of the onnagata.

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