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Shakespeare collaboration launched between Waseda and Birmingham
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Shakespeare collaboration launched between Waseda and Birmingham

Tue, Apr 12, 2016
Shakespeare collaboration launched between Waseda and Birmingham
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Shakespeare collaboration launched between Waseda and Birmingham

Waseda University and the University of Birmingham, in England, have signed a new agreement for future collaboration for research in the works of William Shakespeare.

Delegates from Waseda led by Vice President for International Affairs Norimasa Morita visited Birmingham to launch the partnership with the School of English Drama and American & Canadian Studies.

As the world marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 2016, the agreement will unite the University of Birmingham’s renowned Shakespeare Institute with Waseda’s Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum and 、the Faculty of Letters, Arts, and Sciences.

Located in Stratford-upon-Avon, the Shakespeare Institute is an internationally acclaimed center for Shakespeare studies, possessing 60,000 related documents in their collection. The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum, on the other hand, holds 255,000 volumes in their archives and supports researchers and doctoral students focusing on Shakespeare. The museum is named after Professor Shoyo Tsubouchi, a pioneer in modern Japanese literature and theatre, also known for translating Shakespeare’s complete works into Japanese.

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The signing ceremony for partnership agreement: pictured above, from left, are Professor Norimasa Morita, Vice President for International Affairs, Waseda University; Professor Minako Okamuro, Director Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum; Professor Adam Tickell, Provost and Vice-Principal, University of Birmingham; and Professor Tim Softley, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Transfer, University of Birmingham

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Professor Hiromi Fuyuki, Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences,explains Waseda’s Shakespeare research at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon

Comments during the signing ceremony

University of Birmingham Provost Professor Adam Tickell said:

“The UK is one of Japan’s top research partners. It is important for both the University of Birmingham and our country to develop closer engagement with our counterparts in Japan, especially in areas of shared research strength.
“I’m delighted that we have secured this collaboration with Waseda University. There is much common ground between us, particularly as the world’s attention focuses on our region and Shakespeare in 2016, and I look forward to other areas of joint research being developed.”

Waseda University‘s Vice President for International Affairs, Norimasa Morita, said:

“We are very much looking forward to expanding our research collaboration with the University of Birmingham, starting with a select number of academic areas and later developing other exciting strategic research partnerships.
“In particular, I am very excited about the future activities that can be explored through a collaboration between the Shakespeare Institute and the Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum, which brings together expertise not only in traditional Shakespeare studies but also studies of the Bard in the context of world literature.”

Beyond collaboration on Shakespeare, the agreement also sees joint research into a wide range of other research areas, including robotics, linguistics, and sport & exercise science. Both universities also their contribution to a collaborative fund, which will encourage close working between academics across the common research areas which have been identified.

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Waseda delegates and representatives from the University of Birmingham

Notes to editors
    1. Waseda University already has partnerships with over 700 institutions in 86 different countries. Based in Tokyo, it is one of Japan’s most prestigious private universities. It currently hosts 5,000 international students from 100 countries, the highest number in Japan. In accordance with Waseda Vision 150, a mid-term plan to be completed by Waseda’s 150th anniversary in 2032, Waseda is making efforts to have all of its students study abroad and increase the number of classes taught in English.
    2. The University of Birminghamis ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, with its work bringing people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 5,000 international students from over 150 countries.
    3. The Shakespeare Instituteis an internationally renowned research institution established in 1951 to push the boundaries of knowledge about Shakespeare studies and Renaissance drama. Based in Stratford-upon-Avon, it is led by Professor Michael Dobson.
    4. Modelled after England’s 16th-century Fortune Theatre, the Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museumis Asia’s foremost museum of theatre arts, housing a collection of one million items and an online digital museum. Opened in 1928, it is named after Prof Tsubouchi Shoyo (1859-1935), a pioneer of modern literature and theatre and founder of Waseda’s department of literature. Prof Tsubouchi was a lover of Shakespeare, being the first person to translate all of Shakespeare’s plays into Japanese, an incredible forty volumes. His dedication to Shakespeare was life-long, spending his last two years revising the entire collection. The museum has become part of the history of drama in Japan over the years.

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