Professor Risley and the Imperial Japanese Troupe

Tuesday, August 27, 2013
5:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Fromm Hall 125 - Maraschi Room
Event Type
Events and Lectures
Elbers, Krysten Cogswell
Center for Pacific Rim

Professor Risley and the Imperial Japanese Troupe  

How an American Acrobat Introduced Circus to Japan—and Japan to the West 

by Frederik L. Schodt, Author

Tuesday, Aug. 27, 5:00 p.m. | USF Main Campus, Fromm Hall, Maraschi Room

On New Year’s Eve, 1866, Professor Risley arrived in San Francisco from Yokohama, Japan. He was accompanied by the Imperial Japanese Troupe of acrobats and performers, who under his direction would amaze not only the residents of San Francisco but also huge audiences on the East Coast and in Europe. Risley was a famous acrobat in his own right, and the story of how he introduced circus to Japan and how he triggered a craze in Japanese performers in the West is part of a fascinating lost-but-recently-uncovered history.

Frederik L. Schodt is an award winning author of numerous books about popular and esoteric Japanese culture. In Professor Risley and the Imperial Japanese Troupe, Schodt presents an astounding collection of 19th century primary source material.  News articles, letters, playbills, photographs and sketches capture this extraordinary moment of historic cross-cultural exchange between Japanese performers and Western audiences.

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