HomeAKDA: The Asian Journal of Literature, Culture, Performancevol. 1 no. 1 (2016)

Takeshi Kawamura’s Tokyo Trauma: Performing Gender and Sexuality

Toshi Pau

Discipline: History

 

Abstract:

Japanese theater practitioner Takeshi Kawamura (1959-) has gone relatively unnoticed since writing and directing his own plays in the early 1980s. Despite success in the early years of his career, his politically charged works reminiscent of Western influences such as Antonin Artaud and Bertolt Brecht as well as local influences Terayama Shūji and Kara Jūrō, have received little scholarly attention. His 1995 theatrical production Tokyo Trauma is a scathing critique of Japanese war history and the social constructs in power that have all been for the sake of “modernity,” including modern constructions of gender and sexuality. This paper is a close reading of Kawamura’s work and how it engages audiences in reflecting on gender and sexuality through performance and performativity. In this article, I deconstruct the masquerade of gender through an analysis of Tokyo Trauma and reveal its work in reclaiming the construction of the Asian body from Western constraints of gender theory.