Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Basara: David Bowie’s Kabuki Spirit with Josephine Rout, Curator of Japanese Art, Victoria and Albert Museum

September 29, 2021 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


Presented by Chester Beatty.

Bold, brash and flamboyant, David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust era performance incorporated many elements from kabuki. However, Bowie’s admiration of this form of Japanese theatre was not necessarily an early example of cultural appropriation. Rather, he learned from, and worked closely with, Japanese creatives such as the kabuki actor Tamasaburo Bando V, stylist Yasuko Takahashi and designer Kansai Yamamoto, the latter describing their relationship as something that ‘went beyond nationalities, beyond gender’. Complementing the Chester Beatty’s Edo in Colour exhibition of Japanese prints, this special talk for Dublin Festival of History explores Bowie’s relationship with Japanese culture, focusing on kabuki, and how he embodied the aesthetic of basara – transgressive extravagance.

Josephine Rout is a Curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum where she looks after the Japanese collections of Meiji, Modern and Contemporary Fashion, Design and Metalwork. She is a graduate of the University of Canterbury, Aotearoa, New Zealand, and the Royal College of Art, London. At the V&A, she was Assistant Curator for the Toshiba Gallery of Japanese Art refurbishment, curated the Friday Late Neo Nipponica and was Project Curator of the exhibition Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk. Her first book, Japanese Dress in Detail (2020), is shortlisted for the 2021 Association of Dress Historians Book of the Year Award.



September 29, 2021
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Event Category:
Event Tags:


Online Only


Chester Beatty