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Japanese Counterculture: The Antiestablishment Art of Terayama Shuji


Japanese Counterculture: The Antiestablishment Art of Terayama Shuji Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Terayama Shuji (1935-1983) was an avant-garde Japanese poet, dramatist, film director, and photographer known for his highly provocative work. In this inventive and revealing work, Steven Ridgely examines Terayama's life and art to show that a conventional notion of him does not do full justice to the meaning and importance of his wide-ranging, often playful body of work.

Ridgely places Terayama at the center of Japanese and global counterculture and finds in his work a larger story about the history of postwar Japanese art and culture. He sees Terayama as reflecting the most significant events of his day: young poets seizing control of haiku and tanka in the 1950s, radio drama experimenting with form and content after the cultural shift to television around 1960, young assistant directors given free rein in the New Wave as cinema combated television, underground theatre in the politicized late 1960s, and experimental short film through the 1970s after both the studio system and art house cinema had collapsed.

Featuring close readings of Terayama's art, Ridgely demonstrates how across his oeuvre there are patterns that sidestep existing power structures, never offering direct opposition but nevertheless making the opposition plain. And, he claims, there is always in Terayama's work a broad call for seeking out or creating pockets of fiction-where we are made aware that things are not what they seem-and to use otherness in those spaces to take a clearer view of reality.

Book News Annotation:

Ridgely (Japanese literature at the U. of Wisconsin-Madison) presents a profile of the life and art of Japanese counterculture figure Terayama Shji. Early on Terayama developed as a poet focusing on haiku and tanka forms. He later moved on to playwriting, theatre direction, radio drama, and short films. He travelled the world and became well known such places as Amsterdam, Paris, New York, and Berkeley as a renaissance man. But according to Ridgley, Terayama was much more than just an enthusiastic jack-of-all-trades in the counterculture world, he was a very important voice in post-war Japanese culture. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (


Explores the significant impact of this countercultural figure of postwar Japan.

About the Author

Steven C. Ridgely is assistant professor of Japanese literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Table of Contents


Introduction: Global Counterculture, Visual Counterculture

1. Poetic Kleptomania and Pseudo-Lyricism

2. Radio Drama in the Age of Television

3. Boxing-Stuttering-Graffiti

4. Deinstitutionalizing Theatre and Film

5. The Impossibility of History

Conclusion: "Japanese" Counterculture




Product Details

Ridgely, Steven C.
University of Minnesota Press
Asian - Japanese
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
8.5 x 5.5 x 0.7 in

Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Drama » Asian Theater
Arts and Entertainment » Drama » History and Criticism
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Japanese Counterculture: The Antiestablishment Art of Terayama Shuji New Trade Paper
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Product details 264 pages University of Minnesota Press - English 9780816667536 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
Explores the significant impact of this countercultural figure of postwar Japan.
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