Back in March of this year, the University of Colorado at Boulder held a symposium entitled “Publishing the Stage: Print and Performance in Early Modern Japan.” Papers focused on topics relating to (as you might have guessed) prints and books published in the Edo period related to kabuki. I wish I could have gone, but I couldn’t. Many of the current top scholars in kabuki scholarship were there – including Ryoko Matsuba, Adam Kern, Drew Gerstle, Katherine Saltzman-Li, and Jonathan Zwicker, and it really would have been wonderful to attend.
But, fortunately for you and I, the university is releasing the full text of all of the papers presented that day (eleven in all; four in Japanese) as PDFs, freely accessible on their website: http://cas.colorado.edu/index.php/events/event-publications.
That same page contains information for how to obtain a free hardcopy of the book, if you so desire.
All of the papers look fascinating, but I am particularly interested to read Matsuba-sensei’s paper on the history of yakusha ehon (books of illustrations of actors), and Prof. Saltzman-Li’s paper on “Professional Manuscripts and Commercial Texts on the Art of Kabuki.”