“Kyomai” literally means dance of Kyoto--the Japanese city known for its cultural tourism. The word “kyomai” was invented a century after the dance was created, and was popularized after World War II mainly through the Japanese policy on cultural preservation. What have people seen and felt in the word, “kyomai”? Its popularization was deeply related to the image of Kyoto, which has been cultivated as an ancient capital. It is also directly connected with Japan’s postwar self-portrait as a country with a long history. I will examine the association between the dance and Japanese identity, as constructed after 1945.
Mariko Okada is currently CJS’s Visiting Scholar and was the 2012-13 Toyota Professor in Residence. She received her Ph.D. from Waseda University in 2011. She won the Suntory Prize for Social Sciences and Humanities for her book, The Birth of Kyomai: Inoue-ryu Dance in Nineteenth-Century Kyoto, Japan, (Shibunkaku Shuppan, 2013).
Mariko Okada, Visiting Scholar, CJS; Recipient of the 2013 Suntory Prize for the Social Sciences and Humanities