COMPARATIVE THEATRE WORKING GROUP | Japanese Society for Theatre Research - beta -


Date:2021-08-23 / Modified:2021-08-23


Our working group, consisting mainly of researchers of western and/ or modern Japanese theatres, started in the year of 1988: just before the beginning of the huge global changes, which decisively influenced upon both the ways in which theatrical works were created and perceived. With this in the background, the working group has been in its developing process inevitably confronting the mission of seeking for new approaches to the contemporary phenomena of world theatres. Constant searches for new methodologies beyond various borders, including national, lingual and cultural ones, are so to say the icon of our researchers’ community. However, this does not mean that researchers with a “traditional”, say, positivistic, methodology should not be welcomed. Any sincere theatre academician engaging with not solely “traditional” or “classical” Japanese theatre forms can well become an effective member of our working group.

Researcher members may be asked to give a speech about their own themes usually once in three or four years, although this is no duty, for there is another way to be a welcomed member of our group: at least to pay the annual membership fee (now 3000Yen), to visit the meetings frequently and to behave attentively— even if in the free talking at the light(?) drinking party after the severe and serious sessions.

Otherwise, the members can hold (small) symposia built upon their own initiatives. Contents of such symposia have been: “Around Aristotle’s Poetics”, “Theatre and Teaching”, “Dialogues with Contemporary Japanese Directors” and “Theatre and Memory”, to name a few.

The working group has yet another touch of character: reporting about either the general situation or individual productions of domestic or foreign stages can be also a good way to establish one’s own presence in the group — about Rimini Protokoll in Festival Tokyo, about NODA Hideki’s new piece or about Bungakuza Company’s Atelier in its three 60th. anniversary productions: one from Euripides, one by a British contemporary black- female author and one by a provoking Japanese dramatist who prefers to attack harshly his own society fingering that there should be something to be attacked that way.


1. The group holds a general meeting in April. Regular meetings are held in April, May, July, September or October, December and in January. They will usually be held at Seijo University, Tokyo.

2. The group had published its own bulletins until 2001 and after that published the journal Comparative Theatre Review, which has recently issued its tenth volume. Now it is planned that the journal should be published in an electronic form so that its contents can be accessed world- wide.

3. In the past, the group sponsored several international colloquiums: in November 1995, March 1997, May 2000, and March 2006. The contents of those meetings are reported as special features in our bulletins or published in a book form.

4. Some members of the group participated in the task of helping general and, especially, young Japanese readers access classical western dramas in translation: we published in May 2000 Best Plays: Western Classical Dramas from the honorable Hakuhosha Company in Kanda Jimbocho, Tokyo. This was a hit. Now it is planned, after Hakuhosha vanished after the death of its president Mr. Aida, a friend of the founder of our working group Mr. MORI, that the volume should be issued as a new version, named Best Plays: Twelve Western Classical Plays from Ronsosha Company, under the initiative of our new president Mr. KOSUGE.


First contact the secretary of the working group: Mr. YAMASHITA Yoshiteru (see below). Then transfer the annual membership fee of 3000 yen to the following account:
“Seiyôhikakyengekikenkyûkai” 10090-81899251, Yûcho Bank

If you make a transfer from a different bank:
“savings account 8189925, Branch: Zerozerohachi, Yhûcho Bank”

With the applying to the secretary and the completion of the transfer, you will obtain membership and soon receive a letter of meetings. You can also simply come to our meeting to see what it is like before applying. If you are interested in attending a meeting, please email at YAMASHITA:


Executive Office, Comparative Theatre Working Group,
YAMASHITA Yoshiteru’s Laboratory,
Faculty of Arts and Literature, Seijo Unversity,
6-1-20, Seijo, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo  zip-code 157-8511