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53 - The birth of kokkeibon (comic novellas)

from Part IV - The Edo period (1600–1867)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 January 2016

Haruo Shirane
Affiliation:
Columbia University, New York
Tomi Suzuki
Affiliation:
Columbia University, New York
David Lurie
Affiliation:
Columbia University, New York
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Summary

The genre known as kokkeibon or comic novellas emerged in the aftermath of the Kansei Reforms. Before the reforms, the field of popular fiction had been dominated by two genres: the dialogue-based sharebon and the illustrated kibyoshi. Jippensha Ikku made his debut in popular fiction as a writer of kibyoshi under the patronage of the powerful publisher Tsutaya Juzaburo. Murataya Jirobe had organized an otoshi-banashi club in which Ikku had participated, collecting the comic tales presented at the meetings for publication in the form of hanashibon and kibyoshi. The dialogue between the protagonists that carries the story resembles the narrative technique found in sharebon, a genre in which Ikku had written extensively. Ikku drew his humorous content from a wide variety of sources, including kyogen plays and classic comic stories. The other major kokkeibon author was Shikitei Sanba. Sanba's first work in the genre was a collaboration with Santo Kyoden on a kokkeibon titled Kyogen kigo.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2015

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