Sekai

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世界 せかい


総合

歌舞伎

A term used to refer to the background material chosen from pre-existing storylines to form the basis of new plays. Play planning in much of the Edo Period began with the choice of a sekai, or “world,” which encompassed well-known stories from history, literature, and other performing arts, and which came with recognizable plots, outcomes, and characters. This method of play preparation had two uses: it meant shared knowledge of material that provided playwrights with a foundation for play creation and audiences with an immediate entry into considering new twists on old stories, and it allowed playwrights to create plays of current relevance that were not subject to censorship problems by setting current doings in comparable pasts. The number of sekai increased over time: if a play became very popular and spawned new versions or variations, it might become its own sekai. (KSL)