Slavery, Performance, and the Question of Personhood in Medieval Japanese Drama

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Plot: Filial girl sells herself into slavery to pay for parents’ funeral rites. Daring priest dances to purchase her freedom. Such transactions tell us much about the volatile valuation of human life in medieval Japan. What strictures defined personhood and how could spectacular gestures amend them? This presentation takes up medieval Noh plays to explore dramatic labor’s role in redrawing the boundaries between subject and object, performer and commodity, stage and auction block.