Kawakami Otojiro's Trip to the West and Taiwan at the Turn of the Twentieth Century

Yukari Yoshihara

in Asian Crossings

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print July 2008 | ISBN: 9789622099142
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882206632 | DOI:
Kawakami Otojiro's Trip to the West and Taiwan at the Turn of the Twentieth Century

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This chapter explores Otojiro Kawakami, one of the founders of Japanese modern theatre, and his travels to the West and to Taiwan under Japanese colonial rule; and it investigates them as cases testifying to the complexities surrounding Japan's geopolitical role during this period. It would be safe to say that Otojiro's performances in the United States and Europe were consumed as exotic shows, rather than as examples of the high-brow art of imperial Japan. A brief survey of the history of Japanese colonization of Taiwan is presented. It also tries to show that Otojiro was no less Orientalist in his attitudes towards the colonized peoples of imperial Japan. Obviously, it is not merely Otojiro's personal failing: rather, it is a product of a structure that situates Japan (especially Tokyo) both at the periphery and centre of imperial geopolitics. It then concludes by referring to the British-Japan Exposition in 1910.

Keywords: Otojiro Kawakami; Taiwan; United States; Europe; travels; imperial Japan; imperial geopolitics; Japanese colonization; British-Japan Exposition

Chapter.  5668 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literature

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