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These reference sources, including encyclopedias and dictionaries, facilitate research in music and performing arts in Japan and elsewhere in Asia.
Kabuki 21 is a reference source about kabuki theater terms, people, plays, history, places, and more. It provides definitions, glossaries, links, and reference material related to all aspects of kabuki.
Digital Archives - Performing Arts
These digital archives relate to all kinds and periods of performing arts in Japan, and include texts and images as well as recordings and complex media objects.
The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum Digital Archives
A variety of databases with search interfaces in both English and Japanese, for researching theater using the Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre's digitized resources.
Global Performing Arts Database
The Global Performing Arts Database records include authoritative, detailed, multilingual descriptions of digital images, texts, video clips, sound recordings, and complex media objects related to the performing arts around the world, plus information about related pieces, productions, performers, and creators. This is an especially good database for Japanese performing arts images, such as noh.
Asian Shakespeare Intercultural Archive
The Asian Shakespeare Intercultural Archive contains videos of performances of Shakespeare productions in various Asian nations, with subtitles in different languages. It requires free registration.
Bunka Digital Library 文化デジタルライブラリー
A digital library from the Japan Arts Council, including documents relating to noh, bunraku, and kabuki, as well as actor prints (nishiki-e) and photographs.
Shibai Kinmō Zui 劇場訓蒙図彙
This kabuki-related text by Shikitei Sanba, from 1803, is accompanied by a honkoku next to images of the original document. The texts are displayed as PDFs within the web browser.
Tsukioka Kōgyo 月岡耕漁 -- The Art of Noh, 1869-1927
Nōgaku zue 能 樂 圖 繪, or Pictures of Noh, is a spectacular series of Japanese color woodblock prints by the artist Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927). The University of Pittsburgh owns a rare, complete set of this series, published at Tokyo between the Meiji years 30-35, or 1897-1902. Bound in traditional folding-album format, the series comprises five volumes of 261 prints inspired by the plays of classical Japanese noh theatre. The complete set of prints, held by the ULS Special Collections Department, is digitally reproduced here along with a descriptive catalog and contextual essays.
Harvard-Yenching Library Kabuki Programmes
A "visual finding aid" for HYL's collection of kabuki theatre programmes. Relatively small images, and date from the 1890s.
Oral Theatre History
This site contains oral histories from a variety of people involved in modern (1930s-1970s) Japanese theater, transcribed (no video).
ZA-KOENJI Public Theatre Archive 座・高円寺 演劇資料室
ZA-KOENJI Public Theatre is a theatre for contemporary performing arts. The ZA-KOENJI archive holds published plays, scripts and other materials relating to contemporary Japanese theatre.
Playtext Digital Archives 戯曲デジタル・アーカイブ
This playtext archive is operated by the Japanese Playwrights' Association (日本劇作家協会) and contains over 550 scripts, by both established playwrights and up-and-coming playwrights in contemporary Japan.
Digital Archives - Recordings
These digital archives contain music and other recordings available in the public domain, or are searchable catalogs of recordings available for listening in various institutions.
National Diet Library Historical Recordings Collection (Rekion)
To prevent loss of the sound recordings due to scatter and deterioration of 78 rpm records which are historical and cultural resources as recordings made in the early years, the Historical Records Archive Promotion Conference (HiRAC) was established in 2007. HiRAC had digitized approximately 50,000 recordings of music and speeches etc. from 78 rpms and metal discs produced from around 1900 to 1950 in Japan. This digital archive is largely listenable only inside NDL, but some public domain recordings have been made available on the website.