The Department of Comparative Studies and the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies present:
University of Tsukuba
"Shakespeare in Japanese Pop Culture"
Abstract: A transvestite god of death performs Ophelia, who comes back to life singing in karaoke in praise for her own beauty (The Black Butler). Romeo (a girl), in her sailor suit, climbs over walls of a ninja-style mansion to meet her Juliet (Kutsuwada, Romeo and Juliet). In a recent stage production, Othello is a Brazilian Japanese, who returns to Japan in the 1930s to become a yakuza mafia. This talk will show the 130 years history of pop adaptations of Shakespeare in Japan, including 1903 stage performance of Othello in which the scenes are set in Taiwan under Japanese colonization, to argue that Shakespearean pop adaptations show Japan’s complex negotiations with Western culture and canonical status of Shakespeare.
Bio: Yukari Yoshihara is an associate professor of the University of Tsukuba (Japan). Her publication includes, "Toward ‘Reciprocal Legitimation’ between Shakespeare’s Works and Manga" in Multicultural Shakespeare 14:1, 2016 (University of de Gruyter) and “Raw-Savage” Othello: The First Staged Japanese Adaptation of Othello (1903) and Japanese Colonialism" in Alexa Huang and Elizabeth Rivlin (eds.) Shakespeare and the Ethics of Appropriation (Palgrave, 2014). She was a convener of the First Graphic Shakespeare Competition (2016), commemorating 400 years after Shakespeare's death, which had more than 100 entries from all over the world, adapting and recreating Shakespeare's works into graphic styles. Representative works of the entries can be viewed here.
Department of Comparative Studies
Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies