Associate 1999-00

David G. Goodman

East Asian Languages & Cultures

Death-Defying Acts: Modern Japanese Drama and the Quest for Symbolic Immortality

During his Center appointment, Professor Goodman will trace the evolution of modern Japanese theater and drama by examining the lives and work of a select group of twentieth century Japanese playwrights, actors, and directors. The study will demonstrate how succeeding generations of theater artists struggled with issues of death, dying, and ultimate meaning in response to a rapidly changing and disorienting political and historical context. He has been involved in modern Japanese theater since 1968. In 1969, he began editing and publishing in Tokyo, Japan’s first-and as yet only-English-language theater magazine. Over the past fifteen years, he has published two critical anthologies of postwar Japanese plays and studies of two important prewar playwrights. Most recently, he conceived and wrote an award-winning CD-ROM treating the poster art of contemporary Japanese theater. In the field of intellectual history, he is the co-author of Jews in the Japanese Mind: The History and Uses of a Cultural Stereotype. He has also written four books in Japanese, including one, Hashiru (Running), that was completed during a previous Center appointment in 1988-89.