A Benkei for Every Age: Musashibō Benkei as Palimpsest

Christopher Smith

Abstract


This article traces the history of Benkei production—the production of texts concerning Musashibō Benkei—to show that the image of Benkei is not stable, but rather has been adapted and modified repeatedly since the fourteenth century according to the social, economic, political, and cultural climate, as well as the narrative needs, of various eras. Each new instance of Benkei production does not erase or overwrite the previous instances, but rather adds another layer to the cultural construct “Benkei.” This article is not intended to be a comprehensive overview of Benkei works, nor is it particularly an attempt to unearth obscure Benkei works. Instead, the article shows how literature and literary characters can be adapted and transformed over a long time frame. It addresses relatively well-known texts, but examines them in the context of a history of Benkei texts that reveal a shifting, changing image of Benkei responsive to historicized cultural environments.

Full Text:

PDF

References


Adolphson, Mikael S. “The Dōshu: Clerics at Work in Early Medieval Japanese Monasteries.” Monumenta Nipponica 67, no. 2 (2012): 263–82.

Bach, Faith. “Takatoki: A Kabuki Drama.” Asian Theatre Journal 15, no. 2 (1998): 155–80. https://doi.org/10.2307/1124122.

Bakhtin, Mikhail. Rabelais and His World. Translated by Helene Iswolsky. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984.

Brandon, James R. Kabuki’s Forgotten War: 1931-1945. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2009.

Brandon, James R., and Samuel L. Leiter, eds. Kabuki Plays on Stage. Vol. 2. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2002.

Brown, Steven T. Theatricalities of Power: The Cultural Politics of Noh. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2001.

Fujiwara, Shigekazu. Benkei: eiyū-zukuri no shinseishi. Kyoto: Hōzōkan, 2002.

Gerstle, C. Andrew. “Flowers of Edo: Eighteenth-Century Kabuki and Its Patrons.” Asian Theatre Journal 4, no. 1 (1987): 52–75.

Hagi, Naoko. “Benkei setsuwa: deai no bame ni tsuite.” Kōnan Joshi Daigaku Daigakuin Ronshū 2 (2004): 11–16.

Hutchinson, Rachael. “Kurosawa Akira’s One Wonderful Sunday: Censorship, Context and ‘Counter-Discursive’ Film.” Japan Forum 19, no. 3 (2007): 369–89.

———. “Sabotaging the Rising Sun: Representing History in Tezuka Osamu’s Phoenix.” In Manga and the Representation of Japanese History, edited by Roman Rosenbaum. New York: Routledge, 2013.

Ike, Susumu. “Competence over Loyalty, Lords and Retainers in Medieval Japan.” In War and State Building in Medieval Japan, edited by John A. Ferejohn and Frances McCall Rosenbluth. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press, 2010.

Kōchū Nihon bungaku taikei. Vol. 16. Tōkyō: Kokumin Tosho Kabushiki Kaisha, 1925.

Kominz, Laurence. “Origins of Kabuki Acting in Medieval Japanese Drama.” In A Kabuki Reader: History and Performance, edited by Samuel L Leiter, 16–32. Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, 2002.

Kurosawa, Akira. Something Like An Autobiography. New York: Vintage, 1983.

Lim, Beng Choo. Another Stage: Kanze Nobumitsu and the Late Muromachi Noh Theater. Ithaca, NY: East Asia Program, Cornell University, 2012.

McCullough, Helen. Heike Monogatari. Stanford University Press, 1988.

———. Yoshitsune: A Fifteenth-Century Japanese Chronicle. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1966.

Minobe, Shigekatsu, and Chizuru Sakakibara, eds. Genpei seisuiki. Vol. 6. Tokyo: Miyaishoten, 2001.

Monzaemon Chikamatsu. Chikamatsu zenshū Vol. 6. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1987.

Parker, Helen. Progressive Traditions: An Illustrated Study of Plot Repetition in Traditional Japanese Theatre. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2006.

Rubin, Jay. “From Wholesomeness to Decadence: The Censorship of Literature under the Allied Occupation.” Journal of Japanese Studies 11, no. 1 (Spring 1985): 71–103.

Satake, Akihiro. Gekokujo no bungaku. Tokyo: Chikuma Shobo, 1967.

Scott, A. C. Kanjincho: A Japanese Kabuki Play. Tokyo: The Hokuseido Press, 1953.

Souyri, Pierre-François. The World Turned Upside down: Medieval Japanese Society. Translated by Käthe Roth. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001.

Takeda, Izumo, and Stanleigh H Jones. Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees: A Masterpiece of the Eighteenth-Century Japanese Puppet Theater. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993.

Tezuka, Osamu. Hi no tori. Vol. 8. Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1992.




DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jll.2021.76



Copyright (c) 2021 Christopher Smith

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.