From Kata to Contemplative Practices: Transformations within Martial and Theatrical Arts in Contemporary China and Japan

Conference: AAS-in-Asia2020 (AAS-in-Asia2020)
Title: From Kata to Contemplative Practices: Transformations within Martial and Theatrical Arts in Contemporary China and Japan
Stream: Performing Arts
Presentation Type: Panel Presentation
Panelists:
Magali Bugne, Strasbourg University, France (organizer, discussant)
Shigemi Inaga, International Research Center for Japanese Studies, Japan (chair)
Mika Imono, International Research Center for Japanese Studies, Japan (presenter)
Sylvie Beaud, Teikyo University, Japan (presenter)
Zhanyu Liu, University of Tsukuba, Japan (presenter)

Abstract:

This panel aims at understanding the relationships between traditional martial and theatrical arts training and the recent development of contemplative practices in contemporary China and Japan.
Martial arts and classical theatrical practices are traditionally based on prearranged sequences of movements called kata. For the practitioners, the repetition of these movements constitutes a way to improve their skills as well as a path towards the realization of a higher level of consciousness. In recent years, we observed a transformation of these traditional practices, along with the evolution of contemporary societies and broader transnational influences. In order to further our understanding of this transformations, this panel will focus on specific case studies analyzing the transformations within Japan traditional theater, Chinese martial arts as well as the recent development of “Contemplative Theater” in Japan. How do these innovative changes affect the practitioners and the practices themselves? What do these diverse set of practices have in common? Moreover, what does this all mean for research and the delimitation of field studies?
This panel of young researchers and early career scholars shall take up with these questions relying on fieldwork and first-hand data. While this panel will mostly focus on Chinese and Japanese case studies, participants will adopt a global approach. In doing so, we hope to promote comparison among panelists as well as to encourage discussion with specialists from various areas.