Online Talk#7: “The Body in Ishimure Michiko's Modern Nō Plays”

Saturday, 11 Dec. 2021

10-11 AM JST

Speaker: Sara Newsome (Fulbright scholar / PhD student, UC Irvine)

Analyzing the role of bodily autonomy in Ishimure’s shinsaku nō plays suggests a collectivist view of sacrificing one's individual autonomy for the greater good of the environment. Though very different in genre, plot and performance, both Shiranui (2002) and Oki-no-miya (2014) involve religious sacrifices meant to change the environment in some way. In Shiranui, kami have been sacrificing themselves in the face of man made pollution, and they perform a religious rite to bring the earth into a new age, one free from human pollution. In Oki-no-miya, the religious sacrifice is to summon rain following a drought. In both cases, the body does not belong to the individual, but rather is seen as a tool within the greater collective cosmos. A close ecocritical reading of the two shinsaku nō plays suggests that we reject any government control over our bodily autonomy and instead surrender it to our environment.

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