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Audio Tour: Edo in Drag? Introducing Niwaka Festival

Audio Tour: Edo in Drag? Introducing Niwaka Festival

Mary Redfern
Chester Beatty

The lively Niwaka festival was used to promote Edo’s Yoshiwara brothel district. This festival was particularly known for dances and skits in which the district’s female geisha (trained entertainers) dressed and performed as men.

In this talk, Dr Mary Redfern, Curator of Edo in Colour, compares print depictions of the Niwaka festival with the world of kabuki theatre, in which male actors played female roles, and considers what place the festival might or might not have in the history of drag.

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