In contrast to the Dutch who preceded them, the arts were a high priority for the Japanese colonial regime. The three-and-a-half year period of occupation (1942-1945) wrought innumerable changes upon the arts. Some innovations like the imported kamishibai scroll theater quickly faded after Japan’s defeat. Others developments, including differentiations drawn between “Western” and “Asian” art, the yoking of art to propaganda, inter-arts collaboration, training and “upgrading” of performers, local and national bureaus for the arts, were in Indonesia to stay.
This presentation will examine what anthropologist Greg Urban calls “the acceleration of culture” under a new form of “Asian modernity” imported by the Japanese, and will argue for the importance of understanding this period as the cauldron of Indonesian national culture.
Matthew Isaac Cohen is Professor of International Theatre at Royal Holloway, University. He is an associate editor of Asian Theatre Journal and chairs ASEASUK, Britain’s national subject association on Southeast Asia. His publications include The Komedie Stamboel: Popular Theater in Colonial Indonesia (1891-1903) and Performing Otherness: Java and Bali on International Stages, 1905-1952.
If you wish to attend this seminar please register with Yayah Siegers: [email protected]