Ghosts of Premodernity: Butoh and the Avant-Garde

Shannon C Moore


Japan was in a state of ideological crisis following the Second World War. Japan’s political structure radically altered and newly forming concepts of “democracy” and “freedom” were on the rise. One difficult question in this environment was the question of identity; how could one be “Japanese” without evoking the baggage of nationalism? While the majority of Japanese promoted Western technological advances promising to bring Japan out of economic despair, scholars and artists worried that such progress would come at a terrible cost. Studying the impact of Japan’s first experience of modernisation in the Meiji era, they wondered what would be left behind, suppressed and forgotten in the changing postwar landscape.

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