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Art Essay Humanities Nonfiction Social Sciences Theater/Play Theory

Behind the mask: On sexual demons, sacred mothers, transvestites, gangsters, drifters and other Japanese cultural heroes

By Ian Buruma , 1984

Lots about the difference between Japanese Buddhist aristocratic culture and Shinto popular culture–with examples from films, plays, novels, prostitution–pegged, indeed chained, to the familiar idea that “hedonism is held in check by social taboos.” I.e., “what one sees on the screen, on stage and in comic-books is usually precisely the reverse of normal behavior.

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