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The Japan of Pure Invention
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The Japan of Pure Invention: Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado

Josephine Lee


Long before Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation, long before Barthes explicated his empire of signs, even before Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado presented its own distinctive version of Japan. Set in a fictional town called Titipu and populated by characters named Yum-Yum, Nanki-Poo, and Pooh-Bah, the opera has remained popular since its premiere in 1885. Tracing the history of The Mikado’s performances from Victorian times to the present, this book reveals the continuing viability of the play’s surprisingly complex racial dynamics as they have been adapted to dif ... More

Keywords: The Mikado, Japan, Titipu, Yum-Yum, Nanki-Poo, Pooh-Bah, opera, yellowface, Topsy-Turvy

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2010 Print ISBN-13: 9780816665792
Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015 DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816665792.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Josephine Lee, author