Dramaturgy of separated elements in the experimental Japanese theatre

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


For the last two decades, there have been many attempts to integrate other theatre cultures and other art genres into modern Japanese theatre. These attempts to incorporate elements from different cultures, generally speaking, belong to “Hybrid Performance” in the sense of Richard Schechner.1 For example, Western-oriented theatre groups stage an Ancient Greek tragedy in the form of Nô. Some directors, such as Yukio Ninagawa and Mansai Nomura, produce Shakespearean dramas in a kabuki or kyôgen style, while trying to create a performance which is different from a traditional psychorealistic drama. The directors from Europe, such as Jossi Wieler, stage a kabuki drama with Japanese non-kabuki actors, showcasing a mixture of realistic and stylistic gesture performance. Younger generations of directors and choreographers like Tomonori Kasai (from the theatre group HMP) and Un Yamada (from the dance company Co.YamadaUn) have been especially active in communicating with artists throughout the world and adopting elements of other cultures. Many of them in big cities like Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka, who have enjoyed many opportunities to see various kinds of guest performances from all over the world since the 1990s, have been eager to study theatre overseas. However, there seems to be plenty of room for improvements in this willingness to embrace otherness. The directors of modern Japanese theatre often have a tendency to assimilate the elements of other theatre cultures without deep consideration of the otherness which is incompatible with their own artistic concepts. The performances with this tendency are often just a mixture of the diverse theatrical elements organized around a simple concept. They are lacking in impact, which can only be made through intensive confrontations with the incompatible aspects of otherness.2.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Dramaturgy
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781135122898
ISBN (Print)9780415658492
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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