Modern Japanese Literature Drama - Essay


(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

J. Thomas Rimer

SOURCE: "Japanese Theatre: Languages and Pilgrimage," in Pilgrimages: Aspects of Japanese Literature and Culture, University of Hawaii Press, 1988, pp. 71-90.

[In the following essay, Rimer provides a historical overview of Japanese theater, focusing on three representative works of classical and modern Japanese drama.]

When I first began to attend performances by Japanese contemporary theatre companies in the 1950s, I was puzzled by what I took to be a disparity between the power of the texts chosen for performance and the quality of the acting available to make those texts come alive on the stage. To see Pirandello, Molière,...

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