Field: Japanese Literature
Advisor: Haruo Shirane
Melissa Li is a Ph.D. student in premodern Japanese literature. During her graduate studies, she intends to untangle the theatrical experience of late Edo kabuki through literary analysis, theatre criticism and cultural studies. She is interested in the duality of kabuki theatre, both as a form of entertainment to be performed and consumed, and an agency to shape commoners’ reading preferences, dramatize circulating texts, and further construct a new communal identity of Edo that overlaid the city’s previously shared historical memories centered on samurai and household. Her current project engages with the continuities and transformations in the dramaturgy of 19 th -century Edo kabuki, through a comparative study of representative sewamono (contemporary-themed) plays by Tsuruya Nanboku IV, Segawa Jokō III, and Kawatake Mokuami. Melissa received her B.S. in Applied Mathematics from UCLA in 2015.