Theater — puppet and kabuki plays in particular — formed the nexus of Japanese popular culture in the early modern period. On the stage, townspeople found an expressive outlet for their values, hopes, fears and frustrations, depicting encounters between star-crossed lovers, heroes and villains, the familiar and supernatural realms in colorful melodramas that drew from legend, fantasy and (although forbidden) contemporary event.  Action on the stage influenced many forms of popular literature, and through single sheet prints, the visual culture of the period.  Through a combination of books from the Rare and Manuscript Collection of Cornell University Library and single sheet prints from a private collection, this collection documents the roles of theater in literature, visual culture and daily life in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.