Skip to main content Accessibility help

An East Asian Paradigm of Interculturalism

  • Chengzhou He (a1)


Based on a close study of the Sino-Japanese collaboration in Kunqu Opera The Peony Pavilion (2008), this article proposes a different conception of interculturalism onstage in East Asia in comparison with the prevailing East–West paradigm of intercultural performance and theatre. Some of the interesting questions that are raised and discussed in this paper are: How does the Japanese actor Bando Tamasaburo impersonate a young lady Du Liniang in the Chinese classical play without speaking the Chinese language? In what ways does the Sino-Japanese co-production connect and interweave Kunqu Opera and Kabuki? How has the intercultural performance been mediatized, received as well as perceived in China, Japan and elsewhere? The Sino-Japanese co-production features such important notions of interculturalism as connecting instead of othering, sharing instead of influencing, and complementing instead of exploiting.



Hide All
1.Scott, A. C. (1999) The Kabuki Theatre of Japan (New York: Dover Publications), p. 17.
2.Yao, Y. (2010) Burong Hushi de Yige Zhongyao Wenti: Lun Jingju Nandan Hangdang de Jicheng he Fazhan (An important question that should not be ignored: on the inheritance and development of female impersonation in Peking Opera). Zhongguo Jingju (Chinese Peking Opera), 3, 16. If not otherwise stated, all translations are done by myself.
3.He, C. (2013) Trespassing, crisis and renewal: Li Yugang and cross-dressing performance. Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, 24(2), pp. 150171.
4.Qing, Y. (2009) Jinian Mei Lanfang Fangri 90 Zhounian: Mei Lanfang Zaixian Fusang (Commemorating the ninetieth anniversary of Mei’s visit to Japan: the exhibition about Mei Lanfang in Japan). Beijing Daily. Accessed 11 December 2009.
5.Tian, M. (2000) Male dan: the paradox of sex, acting, and perception of female impersonation in traditional Chinese theatre. Asian Theatre Journal, 17, 84.
6.Mei, L. and Xu, J. (1952) Wutai Shenghuo Sishi Nian (Forty-Year Stage Life) (Shanghai: Pingming Press), vol. 1, p. 100.
7.Kuai, L. (2009) Ban Dong Yü San Lang: Tiansheng de Gewuji Zhe (Bando Tamasaburo: a genius actor of Kabuki) Accessed 29 October 2009.
8.Nakamura, R. M. (2009) Bando Tamasaburo revives tradition of men playing women in China. Accessed 13 March 2009.
9.Pavis, P. (1996) Analyzing Performance: Theatre, Dance and Film. Trans. David Williams (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press), p. 66.
10.Mezur, K. (2005) Beautiful Boys/Outlaw Bodies; Devising Kabuki Female-likeness (New York: Palgrave Macmillan), p. 4.
11.Brandon, J. R. (1999) Kabuki and Shakespeare: balancing yin and yang. TDR, 43(2), pp. 1553.
12.Bowers, F. (1998) Tamasaburo in Elizabeth. Asian Theatre Journal, 15(2), pp. 270274.
13.Yomota, I. (2007) Chuangxin Jiqing: 1980 Nian Hou de Riben Dianying (The Passion for Innovation: Japanese Films Since 1980). Trans. Wang Zhongyi and Wang Xiaozhi (Beijing: China Film Press), pp. 244457.
14.V., ‘Bandō TamasaburōEncyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Accessed 12 September 2014.
15.Brandstetter, G. (2011) Interweaving dance cultures. Accessed 1 June 2011.
16.Han, M. (2009) Japanese master promises a traditional Kunqu show. Accessed 26 March 2009.
17.Zheng, P. (2010) Ban Dong Yu San Lang he Kunqu de Pushi Jiazhi (Bando Tamasaburo and the universal values of Kunqu Opera). Shu Cheng (Book Town), March, p. 41.
18.Garber, M. (1992) Vested Interests: Cross-dressing and Cultural Anxiety (New York and London: Routledge), p. 243.
19.On 20 August 2012, Chengzhou He visited Suzhou Kunju Opera Theatre and had an interview with Shen Guofang mainly about her collaboration with Bando Tamasaburo in The Peony Pavilion as well as the production and reception of the co-production.
20.Feng, Y. (2010) Cong Chuantong Dao Xiandai Jiaoliu: Zhong Ri Ban Mudan Ting (From tradition to modern communication: the Sino-Japanese version of The Peony Pavilion). Suzhou Daxue Xuebao (The Journal of Suzhou University), 2, p. 119.
21.Fischer-Lichte, E. (2010) Interweaving cultures in performance: different states of being in-between. Accessed 11 August 2010.

Related content

Powered by UNSILO

An East Asian Paradigm of Interculturalism

  • Chengzhou He (a1)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.