An Outline History of the Japanese Drama

An Outline History of the Japanese Drama

An Outline History of the Japanese Drama

An Outline History of the Japanese Drama

Excerpt

Students of international drama are turning more and more to study of Japanese drama, desirous to know to what extent its development duplicates or differs from the evolution of drama in other countries. Stimulated by the colour, originality, power, or poetry of the few specimens they know, they are steadily more anxious to know it well in all its branches.

Professor Lombard comes with special fitness to his task as translator and historian. His long association with university work in Japan has given him unusual opportunities to know the Japanese drama at first hand. Deeply interested by it and keenly sensitive to its beauties, he has had, too, the background for a comparative study of it, for he has been a student of the English and Continental drama for many years--not satisfied merely to know the printed play, but judging the play as, above all, something to be acted. He has had, too, exceptional chances to learn just what the older and basal forms of the Japanese drama mean now, and have meant historically, to the priests or other special groups who still maintain the older forms. Carefully he traces for the Japanese the passage from song or symbolistic mimicry to popular plays of crude types, and from these to something of as definite rules as the Noh dramas on the one hand or the Kabuki plays on the other. Reading his pages one sees that, whatever the differentiations between the Japanese and other great national dramas, the evolution is really the same--from song and mimicry through drama perfected according to artistic standards of the nation out of which the drama in question grows, to the desire for a drama which, though it must remain thoroughly Japanese . . .

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