CONF: Japan on the Jesuit Stage, Vienna, June 28/29, 2018

Japan on the Jesuit Stage
Vienna, 28-29 June

Alte Burse, Sonnenfelsgasse 19, A-1010 Wien


The conference is a part of a joint Austrian-Japanese project investigating Jesuit dramas on Japan in German-speaking areas. With the support of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), this project has focused especially on the images of Japan found in Latin-language theatrical performances given at Jesuit schools in the German-speaking world. Several previously-unstudied plays are being edited and analysed conceptually.

The purpose of the conference is to expand this research to encompass the pan-European circulation and production of ‘knowledge’ about Japan through the Jesuit theatre. We especially encourage proposals dealing with early modern theatrical depictions of Japan in a variety of geographic and institutional contexts. In addition to case studies of relevant plays and performances, contributions may address broader questions such as:

  • In which regions were Japanese topics depicted more or less often, and which Japanese figures were popular where?
  • How are Japan and the Japanese people, Christian and non-Christian, presented in terms of contemporaneous discourses of civilisation, enlightenment, virtue, etc?
  • How might stories of Japanese Christians have functioned, both in intended and unintended ways, as models of conduct, for various kinds of viewers?
  • What institutional or political purposes did Japan plays serve for the Jesuits?
    What thematic, stylistic, or other peculiarities did Japan plays exhibit, and what work did these features do?
  • How was Japan presented in theatrical performances outside the Jesuit order?
    How and why did particular features of Japan plays influence Neo-Latin or vernacular plays on other subjects?

Papers will be given in English.

Project website:

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