The Japanese Society for Theatre Research is an academic organization of theatre scholars with a history of more than 50 years. Researchers from various fields belong to this society, including those working in the theatres of the East and the West, Japan’s ethnic performing arts, Noh, Kabuki, the Jôruri puppet show, popular performing arts, movies, TV, and other types of performances such as dance. Their fields of study vary and include studies of theatre-related materials, histories, theories, and analyses of texts and theatre presentations. Members make presentations at the Society’s annual conventions, study groups, and section meetings, where they have discussions and positively criticize each other’s studies. All of these activities contribute to the development of the country’s theatre studies.
Theatre simply represents presentations, and this seemingly transient phenomenon needs to be positioned as the central theme of theatre research. Presentation, however, cannot be properly verified by further objective studies. Therefore, some people might point out not only the difficulty in studying theatre, but also the lack of its significance. Traditionally, theatre has been belittled among the arts. It has been considered to be only a comfort for people. Therefore, modern Japan has almost neglected theatre education in the country’s educational policies. This is widely known. These days, however, the importance of theatre, or theatrical viewpoints, is gradually becoming recognized. Given this shift in the environment, the Japanese Society for Theatre Research positions the promotion of theatre education as one of its most important activities. This education needs to be applied to a wide range of educational institutions, from elementary to higher education.
Today, there are many types of theatre performances presented in Japan, which attract attention from all over the world. It is necessary, of course, to study this Japan-specific phenomenon with a global point of view. At the same time, however, it is also necessary to study the histories of various types of theatre as well as the theories of theatre. The Japanese Society for Theatre Research considers improving the levels of these studies and fostering young researchers in theatre studies to be its most important task. This is exactly why the Society actively promotes interaction with theatre researchers from all over the world.
We would be most grateful if you could give us advice and assistance so that we can develop the Japanese Society for Theatre Research into a more productive research organization.