Centered on questions of identity formation, selfhood, and
the body, this ethnography examines the experiences of later life learners in
Japan. The women profiled are amateur practitioners of Noh theater, learning the
dance and chant essential to this classic art form. Using a combination of
observational, interview, and experiential data, Katrina L. Moore discusses the
relevance of these practices to the women’s everyday lives. Later life learning
activities have been heavily promoted in Japan as a means for an aging
population to remain healthy. However, many Noh practitioners experience their
practice as a means of self-actualization beyond the goal of healthy aging.
Looking at daily experiences of training for and staging theatrical
performances, Moore analyzes the way the body becomes the medium through which
amateurs explore new states of self. The work provides a view of contemporary
Noh that highlights the rarely acknowledged role of amateur performers.