This essay focuses on some Shakespeare productions in Japan during 2014 and 2015. One is a Bunraku version of Falstaff, for which the writer himself wrote the script. It is an amalgamation of scenes from The Merry Wives of Windsor and those from Henry IV. It was highly reputed and its stage design was awarded a 2014 Yomiuri Theatre Award. Another is a production of Much Ado about Nothing produced by the writer himself in a theatre-in-the-round in his new translation. Another is a production of Macbeth arranged and directed by Mansai Nomura the Kyogen performer. All the characters besides Macbeth and Lady Macbeth were performed by the three witches, suggesting that the whole illusion was produced by the witches. It was highly acclaimed worldwide. Another is a production of Hamlet directed by Yukio Ninagawa, with Tatsuya Fujiwara in the title role. It was brought to the Barbican theatre. There were also many other Shakespeare productions to commemorate the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth.


Shakespeare, adaptation, Bunraku, Kyogen, Falstaff, Much Ado about Nothing, Macbeth, Hamlet, Japanese traditional theatre, Yukio Ninagawa


Benson, Sean. Shakespeare Resurrection: The Art of Almost Raising the Dead. Pittsburgh Duquesne University Press, 2009.

Bradley, A. C. “The Rejection of Falstaff.” Shakespeare: ‘Henry IV Parts I and II’, A Casebook. Ed. G. K. Hunter. London: Macmillan, 1970. 56-78.

Cox, John F., ed. Much Ado About Nothing. Shakespeare in Production. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Frye, Northrop. A Natural Perspective: The Development of Shakespearean Comedy and Romance. New York and London: Columbia University Press, 1965.

Fujita, Minoru. “Tradition and the Bunraku Adaptation of The Tempest.” Shakespeare and the Japanese Stage. Ed. Takashi Sasayama, J. R. Mulryne, and Margaret Shewring. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. 186-196.

Furness, Horace Howard, ed. Much Ado About Nothing. A New Variorum Edition of Shakespeare. New York: Dover, 1899.

Groves, Beatrice. “‘The Wittiest Partition’: Bottom, Paul, and Comedic Resurrection.” News and Queries, 54.3 (2007): 277-82.

Humphreys, A. R., ed. Much Ado About Nothing. The Arden Shakespeare, the Second Series. London: Methuen, 1981.

Kawai, Shoichiro. “Kabuki Twelfth Night and Kyogen Richard III: Shakespeare as a Cultural Catalyst.” Shakespeare Survey 64 (2011): 114-20.

Mares, F. H., ed. Much Ado About Nothing. The New Cambridge Shakespeare. 1988; rpt. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

McEachern, Claire, ed. Much Ado About Nothing. The Arden Shakespeare, the third Series. London: Cenage Learning, 2006.

Morgann, Maurice. An Essay on the Dramatic Character of Sir John Falstaff (1912), reprinted in Shakespearian Criticism. Ed. Daniel A. Fineman. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972.

Nakamura, Miki. “Tempest Arashi Nochi Hare-Sunshine After the Storm, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.” Shakespeare Studies (Tokyo), 4 (2009): 57-59.

Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. Ed. G. Blakemore Evans, et al. 2nd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.

Takahashi, Ayako. “Bunraku meets the Bard in new ‘Sir Falstaff’.” The Japan Times. 27 August 2014.

Shinobu, Takano. “Looking Back My 2014” http://www.wonderlands.jp/lookback/lb2014

Wilson, John Dover. The Fortunes of Falstaff. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1964.

Zitner, Sheldon P., ed. Much Ado About Nothing. The Oxford Shakespeare. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993.

First Page


Last Page