Theater as Music

The Bunraku Play “Mt. Imo and Mt. Se
Volume 4
C. Andrew Gerstle, Kiyoshi Inobe, and William P. Malm
Examines Bunraku in performance and brings together musical, dramatic, and historical analyses into one study


Bunraku drama has been recognized by many Western artists and scholars form early in this century as a fascinating theatrical tradition. While many have acknowledged the genius of this dramatic form, few have attempted to analyze the tradition in depth. This book is the first attempt to examine Bunraku in performance and to bring together musical, dramatic, and historical analyses into one study.
The three authors focus on the famous “Mountains Scene” (Yama no dan), the third scene of the third act of Mt. Imo and Mt. Se: An Exemplary Tale of Womanly Virtue (Imoseyama onna teikin, 1771) by Chikamatsu Hanji, to examine its place in the history of Bunraku and to analyze it as an example of a living tradition. By focusing on one text and on the music of one particular performance, the authors illuminate the rich musical and dramatic conventions that lie at the foundation of today’s performance.
Theater as Music, with its articles, translations, text, and glossary of terms, is a complete guide to Bunraku as a performing tradition and will be useful to anyone interested in music or theater.
C. Andrew Gerstle is Professor of Japanese at the Australian National University. His numerous works on Japanese theater and music include Circles of Fantasy: Convention in the Plays of Chikamatsu (1986) and, as editor, Eighteenth Centur

Praise / Awards

  • “The most thoroughgoing study of Bunraku performance yet to appear in English.”
    —Hugh de Ferranti, Yearbook for Traditional Music
  • “A breakthrough publication.”
    —Samuel L. Leiter, Asian Theatre Journal

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 302pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Cassette (2-Pack)
  • 1990
  • Available
  • 978-0-939512-38-6

Add to Cart
  • $46.95 U.S.