Presented by the Center for East Asian Studies
In Chikamatsu Monzaemon’s play Love Suicides at Sonezaki (1703), when O-hatsu and Tokubei commit suicide together, they already have an inkling of their story’s afterlives as subjects of teahouse gossip. They do not imagine that their story will become the source material for one of the masterpieces of Japanese literature and a central play in the bunraku and kabuki repertoires. This talk examines how the act of love suicide, which began as a practice on riverbanks and other peripheral spaces by socially marginalized people, became transformed into a celebrated act of honor in eighteenth-century Osaka and how this regional practice eventually became integrated into the national literary and performance canons. What is gained and lost in the transition from regional cultural heritage to national cultural heritage? For that which is lost, can it be recovered?
Cosponsored by the Wolf Humanities Center
Jyana S. Browne is Assistant Professor of Premodern Japanese Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Maryland. Her areas of research include early modern Japanese performance; Japanese puppetry; and the intersections of performance, sexuality, and embodiment. Her current book project examines performances of love suicide in eighteenth-century Osaka.
Dr. Browne earned her doctorate from the University of Washington in 2017. Before beginning her graduate studies, Dr. Browne worked as a theatre director in New York.