Asian Theatre Journal, vol. 20, no. 1 (2003)

Editor’s Note
Samuel L. Leiter, iii


On Shimizu Kunio’s Play: May Even Lunatics Die in Peace
Inoue Yoshie; translated by Mari Boyd, 1

Inoue Yoshie’s article, “On Shimizu Kunio’s Play: May Even Lunatics Die in Peace” (Shimizu Kunio “Kyöjin naomote Öjö o togu—Mukashi Bokutachi Aishita”) is published in Twentieth-Century Japanese Drama II (Nijusseiki no Engeki II—Nihon Kindai Gikyoku no Tenkaii), edited by the Japan Modern Theatre History Research Group (2001). This comprehensive collection of criticism by twenty-eight critics covers fifty-one playwrights and their plays written between 1946 and 1973. Beginning with playwright Hotta Kiyomi and his play Untenkö no Musuko (The Son of a Machine Operator, 1947), the book treats works by noted playwrights such as Mishima Yukio, Abe Köbö, Tanaka Chikao, Kishida Kunio, Kubo Sakae, Betsuyaku Minoru, and Terayama Shüji. It also discusses playwrights who are not so well known overseas such as Yamada Tokiko, Suzuki Masao, Mafune Yutaka, and Nakano Minoru. Inoue Yoshie is professor of theatre, literature, and women’s studies at Kibi International University. She has written Kindai Engeki no Tobira o Akeru (Opening the Doors to Modern Theatre: The Sociology of Dramaturgy, 1999) and Kubo Sakae no Sekai (The World of Kubo Sakae, 1989), which received the thirty-second Kawatake Award ( Japan Theatre Association). Her coauthored publications include Higuchi Ichiyö o Yominaosu (Rereading Higuchi Ichiyö, 1994) and Arishima Takeo no Sakuhin [ge] (The Works of Arishima Takeo, Part II, 1995). She is an editor of the three-volume Twentieth-Century Japanese Drama series.

Mari Boyd teaches literature and theatre at Sophia University, Tokyo. She has published several articles on modern Japanese drama; the most recent is on Hasegawa Köji’s Ano Kawa ni Töi Mado (Far from the River, 1996), in Twentieth-Century Japanese Drama III, 2002. She has also published translations of Japanese plays by Kökami Shöji, Matsuda Masataka, and Öta Shögo. She serves on the editorial committees for the Half a Century of Japanese Theatre drama anthology series and the Hasegawa Köji Drama Project.

Artistic Direction in Takechi Kabuki
Takechi Tetsuji; translated with an introduction by William Lee, 12

In the early postwar period, one man who sought to shake up the Japanese theatre world was renegade critic and director Takechi Tetsuji (1912–1988). Although Takechi worked in a number of theatrical idioms, in the early 1950s much of his energy was directed at revitalizing kabuki, both through his own productions known as Takechi Kabuki and through his writings. The present essay, representative of Takechi’s work during the period, not only seeks to explain the goals of Takechi Kabuki but also includes Takechi’s insightful views on kabuki history and what was wrong with the contemporary kabuki of the time. For Takechi the heart of the matter was artistic direction, which he claimed had been lost in modern kabuki and therefore had to be reintroduced in order to turn kabuki into a truly classical theatre.

William Lee received his Ph.D. in comparative literature from McGill University, Montreal, with a dissertation on Genroku-period kabuki. He is currently an assistant professor of Japanese culture in the Asian Studies Centre, University of Manitoba. His translation of the kabuki play The Stone-Cutting Feat of Kajiwara recently appeared in Brilliance and Bravado, Volume 1 of Kabuki Plays on Stage, edited by James Brandon and Samuel L. Leiter. He has also published articles on the playwright Chikamatsu Monzaemon, kabuki criticism, and the Japanese folk performing arts.

A Chinese Director’s Theory of Performance: On Jiao Juyin’s System of Directing
Su Min, Zuo Lai, et al.; translated by Shiao-ling Yu, 25

This translation consists of excerpts from a book on Jiao Juyin, who was a distinguished director of Chinese spoken drama. The selections translated here highlight Jiao’s two principal theories: the Theory of Mental Images and “On Nationalizing Spoken Drama.” The first represents his adaptation of the Stanislavsky system; the second outlines his ideas for integrating Western realistic drama, which gave birth to Chinese spoken drama, with the techniques and aesthetic principles of traditional Chinese opera. Su Min, lead author of the book On Jiao Juyin’s System of Directing, is a well known Chinese drama scholar and critic.

Shiao-ling Yu is associate professor of Chinese language and literature in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at Oregon State University. Her publications on Chinese drama and contemporary Chinese fiction and poetry have appeared in various scholarly journals and collections. Her anthology, Chinese Drama After the Cultural Revolution (1996), was the winner of a National Endowment for the Arts translation fellowship.

Jockeying for Tradition: The Checkered History of Korean Ch’angguk Opera
Andrew P. Killick, 43

The perception that Korea does not have a traditional theatre form comparable to those of other Asian countries has been widely accepted by Koreans as well as international observers. The last hundred years have seen a sustained effort to fill this gap with a genre called ch’angguk—a type of opera using the singing style, and often the actual repertoire, of the older musical storytelling form p’ansori. But admission to the hallowed ranks of the traditional has not come easily, and ch’angguk still awaits the marks of institutional recognition bestowed on p’ansori and other designated “cultural assets.” This article traces the complex and unfinished history of ch’angguk’s efforts to position itself relative to the “traditional” against the backdrop of Korea’s turbulent transition from Confucian dynastic rule through colonization, partition, and nation building. In the process, we see how a genre that seeks to associate itself with tradition has had to address issues of historical truth, modernity, nationalism, gender, and the colonial encounter.

Andrew Killick is assistant professor of ethnomusicology at Florida State University and president of the Association for Korean Music Research. He received his Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from the University of Washington in 1998 and served as associate editor and contributing author to the East Asia volume of the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music (2002). His research interest in musical theatre extends from Korean opera to Broadway and Hollywood.

East, West, and World Theatre
Steve Tillis, 7

The study of world theatre was greatly advanced by the publication in 1967 of Leonard C. Pronko’s Theater East and West (rev. ed. 1974). In this article, Steve Tillis notes Pronko’s seminal contribution but contends that the East-West Approach has outlived its usefulness. He argues that the East/ West dichotomy is based on three assumptions that are at once factually untrue and profoundly Eurocentric: first, that East and West are coherent cultural entities; second, that East and West are roughly of the same magnitude and, between them, comprehend the world; and third, that Eastern and Western theatre forms make up two fundamentally distinct kinds of theatre. Tillis suggests that world theatre studies would best be served if the East-West Approach were replaced by a multiregional perspective offering a sound framework for scholarship.

Steve Tillis is the author of Toward an Aesthetics of the Puppet (1992) and Rethinking Folk Drama (1999). He received his Ph.D. in dramatic art from the University of California, Berkeley, and currently teaches at St. Mary’s College of California. An earlier version of this essay was presented at the Theatre East and West Revisited Symposium, Pomona College, April 2002.


Don Rubin et al. eds., The World Encyclopedia of Contemporary Theatre: Asia/Pacific
reviewed by Robert S. Petersen, 88

Anthony Tatlow, Shakespeare, Brecht, and the Intercultural Sign
reviewed by Erika Fischer-Lichte, 91

Mimi Herbert with Nur. S. Rahardjo, Voices Of the Puppet Masters: The Wayang Golek Theater of Indonesia
reviewed by Ian Jarvis Brown, 93

Tina Lu, Persons, Roles and Minds, Identity in Peony Pavilion and Peach Blossom Fan
reviewed by Colin Mackerras, 96

Xiaomei Chen, Acting the Right Part: Political Theatre and Popular Drama in Contemporary China
reviewed by Dave Williams, 98

Hanne M. de Bruin, Kattaikkuttu: The Flexibility of a South Indian Theatre Tradition; Hanne M. de Bruin, trans., Karna’s Death: A Play by Pukalentirrulavar
reviewed by Phillip B. Zarrilli, 100

N. P. Unni and Bruce M. Sullivan, trans. and intro., The Wedding of Arjuna and Subhadra: The Kutiyattam Drama Subhadra Dhananjaya
reviewed by Bozena Sliwczynska, 102

Nicola Savarese, Il Teatro Eurasiano
reviewed by Dallas McCurley, 104

Eugenio Barba, Theatre: Solitude, Craft, Revolt
reviewed by Cobina Gillitt, 106

João Soares Santos, Estudos Sobre Artes Cénicas Asiáticas;
Christine Greiner, Butö: Pensamento em Evolução;
Christine Greiner, O Teatro Nö e o Ocidente
reviewed by Evan Darwin Winet, 108


Izutsu and This Is Noh
reviewed by Samuel L. Leiter, 111