Mishima Yukio premiered the play Rokumeikan in 1956 and published it in 1957. For more than half a century, this play has been praised as one of the finest Japanese plays in the Post-War period. Rokumeikan is a multi-act tragic melodrama, set in 1886 (Meiji Period) in the Rokumeikan building. The play intertwines complex political cabals, intense loves and hatreds, and multiple deceptions embodying the conflict between political power and love. This essay explores the reasons why Rokumeikan has maintained its popularity over its fifty year long performance history and examines the critical reception of the play. My analysis of the Rokumeikan text is based on conflicting notions of truth and power. According to the French philosopher, Michel Foucault, sociopolitical power creates truth. This “power reality” is embodied in the play by Prime Minister Kageyama, and its authority is challenged by his wife, Asako, who has an entirely different conception of truth. This interplay of conflicting values has helped to maintain the popularity and stature of the play for half a century.
|Advisor:||Kominz, Laurence R.|
|Commitee:||Watanabe, Suwako, Wetzel, Patricia J.|
|School:||Portland State University|
|Department:||Foreign Languages & Literatures|
|School Location:||United States -- Oregon|
|Source:||MAI 49/02M, Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Asian literature, Theater, Language|
|Keywords:||Foucault, Michel, Giri and Ninjo, Japan, Mishima, Yukio, Play, Rokumeikan, Truth and power|
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