Kabuki as a Synthetic Narrative: Synthesis and Expansion

Kabuki as a Synthetic Narrative: Synthesis and Expansion

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9943-2.ch002
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Although the author has previously written several papers on kabuki addressing the narrative generation of kabuki or kabuki as narrative generation, this chapter is a kind of synthesis. At first, the chapter provides a focused summary of what kabuki is, which has already been summarized in the author's previous papers, and presents the synthetic characteristics of kabuki as narrative generation. The next section describes the main 15 narrative elements or techniques and several cross-sectional elements or techniques beyond conceptual description. Through two types of systems, including an integrated narrative generation system (INGS) and geinō information system (GIS), the author presents an entire image and design of narrative generation mechanisms in kabuki. Dependent on the above, the last section explains in detail several elements and techniques of kabuki and presents ideas of concrete design and implementation of kabuki-related narrative generation systems by the author.
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The study regarding the narrative generation of kabuki has been frequently tackled. the author’s recent paper on kabuki (Ogata, 2019c), the author undertook a comprehensive survey and analysis, aiming to explore a narrative generation-reception model and a narrative production-consumption model of kabuki from the viewpoint of an information system and, in particular, a narrative generation system. A fundamental concept of the modeling was “multiplicity,” or multiple narrative structures. In addition, the author associated this model with the concept of the Geinō Information System (GIS), representing a system model in which multiple narrative generations and production mechanisms or processes are included. In addition, this paper showed the results of concrete analyses of kabuki’s elements, including “person,” “story,” “tsukushi,” and “naimaze.” Building on the paper, this chapter revises and extends the part of kabuki’s multiple elements using many actual examples and presents an experimental system design and implementation in which several analyzed elements are organically combined with each other.

The author’s kabuki study has aimed to explore and create a “narrative generation-reception” model or a “narrative production-consumption” model of kabuki from the viewpoint of an information system or, in particular, a narrative generation system. A fundamental concept applied to this task was that of “multiplicity” or “multiple narrative structures” in kabuki. Thus, the kabuki study in this chapter corresponds to a concrete example of the multiple narrative structures model in the author’s integrated narrative generation study. A series of kabuki studies (Ogata, 2016a, 2018a, 2018b, 2018d, 2019c) sought to bridge a comprehensive survey and analysis of kabuki based on the concept of multiplicity or multiple narrative structures with a more generalized conceptual model, including both narrative generation-reception and production-consumption processes.

The synthesized narrative generation architecture that the author has been designing and developing, that is, the Integrated Narrative Generation System (INGS,) shown in detail in Chapter 1, forms the background of this study. Although INGS is a basic, fundamental system that has a narrative-generation process by a single subject operating on a basis similar to that of an individual human being, the ultimate goal of the author’s narrative generation project, including the development of INGS, is to involve one or more INGSs to realize various narrative generation application systems and social distribution mechanisms using automatic narrative generation functions. In particular, the conceptual model referred to as the Geinō Information System (GIS) is associated with INGS in this plan. GIS will be described in Chapter 4. GIS is designed to be a system model in which multiple narrative generation and production mechanisms or processes perform a social level task using one or more INGSs. It is a framework in which various levels of narrative generation processes can be driven by the senders, receivers, characters, and actors in the system. In short, INGS and GIS are designed, respectively, to correspond to narrative generation-reception and narrative production-consumption as an entire system.

A kabuki play is a collection of multiple narratives built around original scenarios, authentic and related histories, and actors’ private scenes. It is intended for its construction to be connected with plans for a future narrative generation system comprising several other narrative generation systems.

This chapter expands the narrative generation study of kabuki to the above purposes. In particular, in the first section, BACKGROUNDS, the author briefly describes the overview of kabuki itself and re-introduces the multiple elements of kabuki. The former part, dependent on Ogata (2016a, 2019c), gives the overall information regarding kabuki, including the history, characteristics, and basic mechanisms of the stage to the readers. The latter multiplicity approach of kabuki analyzes the entire phenomena of kabuki to consider multiple structures in each element and the multiple structures among several elements.

Key Terms in this Chapter

“Naimaze” in kabuki: Naimaze is a narrative creation method or a group of techniques that combines components in existing kabuki works or in the narratives from other genres for creating a new work. Components that can be used for naimaze include stories, plots, characters, and places. It is a representative narrative technique for the multiple narrative structures in kabuki .

Integrated Narrative Generation System (INGS): INGS is a synthetic narrative generation system architecture integrating the previous studies by the author. From the broadest perspective, INGS is divided into two types of part, knowledge and procedure. INGS aims at a kind of narrative synthesizer that integrates a variety of narrative techniques, methods, rhetoric, and knowledge into an organic and dynamic generation framework.

“Person” in kabuki: This is divided into the level of an “actor” who performs onstage and that of a “(dramatic) character” in the narrative of the work. Moreover, the existence accompanying the real name also has essential meaning. The multiplicity of “person” in kabuki shows an example of the multiple narrative structures. On the kabuki stage, these three levels or sides simultaneously multiply exist through a person’s body.

Multiple Narrative Structures Model: This is a conceptual model by which a narrative text is multiply constituted, and the narrative generation process multiply executed. This is not a special narrative phenomenon, but the multiplicity is positioned as an essentially important concept for considering and designing narrative generation mechanisms in the author’s narrative generation study.

“Tsukushi” or “Zukushi” in kabuki: This is a rhetorical method for collectively and concisely representing objects in a category. Although tsukushi or zukushi is not a technique limited to kabuki , diverse tsukushi s are used in kabuki , such as “yama (mountains)- zukushi ,” “ sakana (fishes)- zukushi ,” and “kane (bells)- zukushi ” to ensure effectiveness and create strong and deep impressions on the audiences related to narrative multiplicity.

Geino Information System (GIS): This means a system model of geino production and consumption. GIS has been considered a framework in which various levels of narrative generation processes are driven by writers, receivers, characters, and actors. Furthermore, GIS is a model for circulative narrative generation that repeats a narrative generation process. In contrast, in the author’s narrative generation study, the “Integrated Narrative Generation System: INGS” corresponds to a single-level narrative generation system.

“Story” in kabuki: This is related to the multiple narrative structures model in the point that a story played onstage frequently overlaps with one or more other stories in many cases. The principle of overlapping stories adds depth and thickness to narratives of kabuki .

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