Strange Oeillades No More: The Three Daughters of Lear from the Tokyo Shakespeare Company's "shakespeare through the Looking-glass"

Tetsuhito Motoyama*, Kaoru Edo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Discussions about Shakespeare productions in Japan have focused predominantly on adaptations, appropriations, translations, and experiments in creating an indigenous or intercultural Shakespeare. Such studies tend to underscore the "Japanese" qualities of the productions. What they have neglected, for the most part, has been an equally important group of productions: appropriations and adaptations whose main aim is not to create a "Japanese" Shakespeare. These productions do not obsess over the cultural divide but invite the audience to explore their identities by engaging more directly with the plays. The Tokyo Shakespeare Company (established in 1990), a theater troupe which has hitherto escaped academic attention, has produced five such appropriations in a series called "Shakespeare through the Looking-glass". The Three Daughters of Lear (1995), the first in this series, depicts the post-mortem struggles of Lear's daughters to understand what has happened to them. It deals with such issues as the absent mother and the daughter's duty. Plays such as this suggest the potential of Japanese productions of Shakespeare evolving into the intercultural Shakespeare that critics such as Rustom Bharucha propose; they are testimony to how Shakespeare, having become very much a part of Japanese culture, can mirror the audience's reality by way of the issues explored in the play, without references to the indigenous culture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)462-480
Number of pages19
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Dec 1


  • Appropriation
  • Intercultural Shakespeare
  • Japanese stage production
  • King Lear
  • Shakespeare in Japan
  • The Tokyo Shakespeare Company

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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