This exceptionally well-researched and illustrated volume is required reading by anyone who wishes to fully appreciate the phenomenon of the cult of the kabuki actor in nineteenth-century Osaka and Kyoto.
As the book jacket states, "Kabuki heroes is about collective participation in urban culture---on the stage, in poetry salons, in art studios and in fan clubs. Focusing on the culture of Kabuki theatre in Osaka and Kyoto, it illustrates the passionate hero worship of actors by all levels of society.... This interactive nature of Kabuki culture is particularly intriguing: the actors themselves not only appeared on stage, but involved themselves in other cultural circles such as poetry salons. Kabuki fan clubs, on the other hand, performed formal rituals at the theatre. Individual fans became amateur performers, while others created lavish colour prints and books to support favourite actors and spread their fame.... The fine examples [of colour prints] brought together here from leading public and private collections in Europe and Japan evoke a fascinating period when theatre, art and poetry were essential elements of social and cultural life."
University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu; 2005 (first printing); softcover (there is no hardcover edition); like new; 353 illustrations nearly all in color; Index; Bibliography; 304pp.; ISBN 0-8248-2392-3.