In search of Japan’s own Shakespeare | The Japan Times

Reproduction of a 1908 Japanese production of King Lear

Similar to how China has embraced and to some degree appropriated Shakespeare, the Japanese have also been very big Shakespeare fans for the last 200 years. The Shakespeare society of Japan has been publishing scholarly articles and journals since the early 1960s, and as you can see, Japanese interpretations of Shakespeare have been popular since for over 100 years.

Shakespeare even has his own Japanese name: Sao. So the question is, though I truly believe that it is perfectly OK to take Shakespeare and translate him into other languages and reinterpret his work for other cultures’ sensibilities, is it OK to appropriate elements of Japanese culture to interpret Shakespeare for a western audience?

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