Shakespeare Renaissance – from Shoyo to NINAGAWA

Shakespeare Renaissance – from Shoyo to NINAGAWA

Shakespeare Renaissance – from Shoyo to NINAGAWA

2016 Waseda University Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum Special Exhibition
Shakespeare Renaissance – from Shoyo to NINAGAWA

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

Exhibition Outline

How has Japanese society adapted Shakespeare’s (沙翁) theatrical world?

There are countless examples of Japanese literature and theatre with Shakespearean influence. Shoyo Tsubouchi, the founder of the Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum, translated “Julius Caesar” jyoruri*-style and created “該撒奇談 自由太刀余波鋭鋒 (Shiizaru-kidan jiyuu-no-tachinagori-no-kireaji).” The highly acclaimed theatre director, Yukio Ninagawa, directed an original version of “Macbeth,” taking British audience who are well-immersed in Shakespeare by surprise.
*Jyoruri is a traditional Japanese narrative performed by puppeteers

This exhibition reflects on Shakespeare within and from Japan, examining history from when Shakespeare was first introduced during the Edo/Meiji period until now. Moreover, the exhibition also explores the possibilities for creating something new through a fusion of Japanese culture and cultures overseas.

2016 marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. The Museum and the Shakespeare Institute at the University of Birmingham, the leading institution in Shakespearean studies, have decided to hold this exhibition to celebrate.

More information on the agreement between Waseda University and the Shakespeare Institute

First Act: Shakespeare Arriving – between Japanese tradition and Westernization

After a period of national isolation, Japan opened itself and became exposed to foreign countries from the Edo to Meiji period, causing a clash between Japan’s ancient traditions and Western modernization. In such turmoil, leading literary pioneers including Shoyo Tsubouchi have interpreted Shakespeare and attempted to create a new era of theatre with a Japanese spirit. This part of the exhibition shows the works of those literary pioneers, including a 3D video of Shoyo’s lecture, documents written by Shoyo, and an audio recording of Shoyo himself reading “Hamlet.”

Second Act: Shakespeare Departuring – from Japan to overseas

Since the 1980s, the way Japanese creators have interpreted Shakespeare has had a global impact. Nowadays, Shakespeare is not only a subject of longing but has become a part of Japanese culture where Shakespeare is depicted from a unique Japanese sensibility. Presently, what kind of changes are Japanese Shakespearean works going through? Mainly focusing on works by Yukio Ninagawa, who passed away last year, the exhibition displays costumes and a wide range of documents from Emi Wada’s film “Prospero’s Book.”


Exhibition Information

Date: October 14, 2016 (Fri) to January 29, 2017 (Sun)
Time: 10:00 – 17:00 (19:00 on Tuesdays and Fridays)
Closed: 10/19, 11/2 – 11/4, 11/16, 12/7, 12/21, 12/23 – 12/31, 1/1 – 1/5, 1/8, 1/9
Venue: Special Exhibition Room on the 1st floor of Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum
Free Admission

Organized by: Waseda University Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum
With the cooperation of: Shakespeare Institute at the University of Birmingham

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