The Japan of Pure Invention
Gilbert and Sullivan's The MikadoeBook - 2010
Long before Sofia CoppolaOCOs Lost in Translation, long before Barthes explicated his empire of signs, even before PucciniOCOs Madame Butterfly, Gilbert and SullivanOCOs The Mikado presented its own distinctive version of Japan. Set in a fictional town called Titipu and populated by characters named Yum-Yum, Nanki-Poo, and Pooh-Bah, the opera has remained popular since its premiere in 1885. Tracing the history of The MikadoOCOs performances from Victorian times to the present, Josephine Lee reveals the continuing viability of the playOCOs surprisingly complex racial dynamics as they have been adapted to different times and settings. Lee connects yellowface performance to blackface minstrelsy, showing how productions of the 1938OCo39 Swing Mikado and Hot Mikado, among others, were used to promote African American racial uplift. She also looks at a host of contemporary productions and adaptations, including Mike LeighOCOs film Topsy-Turvy and performances of The Mikado in Japan, to reflect on anxieties about race as they are articulated through new visions of the town of Titipu. The Mikado creates racial fantasies, draws audience members into them, and deftly weaves them into cultural memory. For countless people who had never been to Japan, The Mikado served as the basis for imagining what OC JapaneseOCO was.
Publisher: Minneapolis : University of Minnesota Press, 
Copyright Date: ©2010
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xxiv, 248 pages :) : illustrations