CJS Presents Dr. Donald Keene

by Lynn Moyers on February 25, 2016

The legendary Donald Keene and his adopted son offer a presentation on the enchanting Japanese performing art of puppetry, or bunraku. In Japanese puppetry, master puppeteers manipulate nearly life-­size puppets as narrators chant dramatic tales.

There is a special angle to this event, because it focuses on an exciting miracle play originally published and staged in the 1680s, only eventually to be lost to history until a single script was rediscovered in the British Museum in 1968. “The Tale of the High Priest Kochi” is a story of profligacy, betrayal, self-­sacrifice and redemption. It abounds with mistaken identity, romance, combat, animal attacks, and magical transformations. The play’s remarkable rediscovery, and revival for presentation on stage, is the focus of Dr. Keene’s talk, and the accompanying, entertaining video that will be shown.

Additionally, Tsuruzawa Asazo, Keene’s adopted son, will play shamisen, and sing one of the most dramatic portions of this particular play, when a demon-­shape changes to a beautiful lady, who attempts to seduce the high priest away from his spiritual quest. When Priest Kochi doesn’t give in to seduction, the demon assumes its true form and tries to kill and eat Kochi.

Puppet plays have been fundamental to the Japanese performing arts for centuries, and continue to be popular today.

March 7, 2016, at 5:30pm
Smith Memorial Student Union 335
Portland State University
Free and open to the public

A limited number of copies of Dr. Keene’s seminal Yoshimasa and the Silver Pavilion: The Creation of the Soul of Japan will be on sale before the lecture for $30, cash only.

Generously supported by the United States-Japan Foundation
with Special Sponsorship from Delta Airlines.

Presented by the Portland State University
Center for Japanese Studies

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