2020 年 2020 巻 43 号 p. 47-57
Belly dance as a dance from was imported to Japan from the United States in the 1970s. However, the Japanese impression of Belly dance is also associated with The Arabian Nights, a typical story of the Orient. The purpose of this paper is to clarify how belly dance was adapted by the Japanese society, specifically through the influence of The Arabian Nights. Using the view of adaptation, this article describes how the dance form Belly dance gained acceptance by Japanese society through influence of The Arabian Nights and its derivatives published between the Meiji Era through the end of World War II. Since the Meiji Era, the introduction of The Arabian Nights, a typical adaptation work, to Japanese society has occurred through translations as well as ballet, film, etc. Specifically, this article investigates the dances and the dancers’ body through translations of the famous story Alibaba in The Arabian Nights and its derivatives such as the ballet Scheherazade (1910), and the silent film Sumurun (1920). A cross-genre investigation demonstrates The Arabian Nights and its derivative works, from the Meiji Era to the end of World War II, were always adapted on the premise of the West’s superiority to the East. Throughout these works, the dancers’ body has been established as a sensual body and the image of these dances has gradually become closer to Belly dance. In conclusion, the dances’ representations in The Arabian Nights and its derivatives sometimes intersecting with Western dances’ representations, formed the sensual image of Belly dance. Therefore, the dances seen in the works of The Arabian Nights became a hint of acceptance of Belly dance in Japanese society.