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Professor Risley and the Imperial Japanese Troupe

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Professor Risley and the Imperial Japanese Troupe
How an American Acrobat Introduced Circus to Japan—and Japan to the West
by: Frederik L. Schodt
 
The unlikely history of early cross-cultural encounters between the West and Japan, featuring acrobats, jugglers, and a colorful American impresario
 
Price : US$35.00
 
ISBN: 978-1-61172-009-9
336 pp, hardcover, 6" x 9", b/w photographs and illustrations, 16 pages in color


“Frederik L. Schodt has at long last unveiled the fascinating story of ‘Professor Risley.’ Circus scholars, history buffs, and anyone with an ounce of curiosity should be grateful to him.”
Dominique Jando, Circopedia.org

"Pick up Schodt's latest book and move well beyond a study of Japanese culture. Schodt takes us all around the world of 19th-century entertainment: the competition, the disdain, the copycats and the triumphs. It's a captivating story about a pioneer in international entertainment."
—Japan Times

"An intriguing look at international relations, culture, the circus, and its effects on the modern day, Professor Risley is a must for anyone seeking an original and offbeat take on history, highly recommended."
—Midwest Book Review


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Description

“Professor” Risley (Richard Risley Carlisle) introduced the Western circus to Japan in 1864. Three years later, this former acrobat gave many in the West their first glimpse of Japan when he took his “Imperial Japanese Troupe” of acrobats and jugglers on a triumphant tour of North America and Europe. Over the next few years, the Troupe performed before presidents, monarchs, and ordinary citizens. Schodt argues compellingly that such early popular entertainments helped stir a curiosity about all things Japanese that eventually led to japonisme, The Mikado, and, in our time, the boom in manga and anime.

 

Schodt’s depiction of Risley and his Troupe is enlivened by portraits of the circus demimonde and supported by 19th-century photographs, posters, and drawings, many in color. His accounts of these first meetings between Westerners and Japanese shed new light on how different cultures meet, mingle, and influence each other. Descriptions of crowds, dazzling routines, and superstar Troupe performers like the famous Little All Right are a delightful revelation to anyone interested in Asia, the circus, and popular entertainment.

 

Frederik L. Schodt has authored numerous books about Japan, including Manga! Manga! and Native American in the Land of the Shogun. In 2009, for his work he was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette.


This title is also available as an EBOOK.


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