Home > Slide Shows/Photo Galleries > Asia, Shakespeare, and Performance: Japan and China dominates, why am I not surprised?

Asia, Shakespeare, and Performance: Japan and China dominates, why am I not surprised?

No one can resist Shakespeare, it seems. The Bard’s range is so wide and all-encompassing that even countries that normally wouldn’t have anything to do with Shakespeare are now staging their own versions of the Bard’s plays. Consider how India seems to churn out Shakespearean-inspired movies every so often (no doubt influenced by being colonized by Britain) or how Japan has its own Globe. Isn’t it strange that some English playwright from the 17th century has traveled so far? Well, yeah, that’s what this class has been for, hasn’t it?

Now, I’m honestly surprised no one has posted this before, so hell, I might as well do it. Presenting: Shakespeare in Asia. Mostly China and Japan, unfortunately.

I got most, if not all of it by starting at this site. I don’t own any of these images! I got most of my info by travelling through the links offered in this site.

(Note: I pretty much chose photos I fancied showing. There are a lot, ladies and gentlemen; I suggest browsing through the entire site and the offered links!)

(Note 2: Slide show done on powerpoint, since everyone’s into prezi and really, I don’t want to bombard you with another prezi presentation!)

Shakespeare, Asia, Stagings

Bangalan, Franz Edric T.
UP Diliman

  1. humunahumuna
    March 20, 2011 at 4:57 am

    I tried checking out Google to see if we Pinoys have been embracing Shakespeare as much as the other Asian countries but so far, about 10 pages worth of searches in, very few productions have turned up. I can’t help but wonder if this may be because Shakespeare isn’t really part of the required English curriculum here so there isn’t really much interest, ’cause you can’t say it’s because we aren’t receptive to Western culture/ideas. Or perhaps Shakespeare’s works don’t really fit into the Filipino attitude. Either way, that kind of calls into question Shakespeare’s “universality” doesn’t it?

    • March 20, 2011 at 12:17 pm

      Oh, I think there’s an audience for Shakespeare here in the Philippines. Ma’am Ick narrates a time when she used to frequent theaters in her youth, and Shakespeare was definitely part of this experience. I’m pretty sure a lot of derivatives of Shakespeare works exist in the Philippines (we ARE Filipinos, yes? Surely derivatives exist) and that no one is willing to upload them to the internet.

      Considering that the recent Screen: Macbeth production is a “success”, as viewed by Dr. Anton and co., I’d argue that there is an interest in Shakespeare, but the problem, I suppose, is presentation. All the photos I’ve shown are invariably affected by their own countries and their culture, which allows the audience to resonate with it more clearly. Not much of that sort exists in this country, which distances and alienates viewers from Shakespeare. In short, we do not infuse our adaptations of Shakespeare with a Filipino mindset, which is why it does not resonate.

      Oh God I could talk about this in regards with all Filipino productions, but I’ll stop, my reply is too long. I also have some thoughts on Shakespeare’s “universality”, but I’ll leave that for some other time. Thanks for your reply, and for being more diligent than I am! (I reached up to the 6th page on google)

  2. irviglesias
    March 21, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    I guess it’s because Filipinos in general are romance junkies and not enough Shakespeare plays feature full-on romance, apart from probably “Romeo and Juliet”. That could be one reason why Shakespeare never fully caught on in this country. Even then, though, our generation and the last few ones before us have yet to see an ACTUAL Filipino adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet” IN THE MAINSTREAM, especially since fantaseryes, teen dramas and soap operas rule local television. All we can get is traces of the play in the “star-cross’d lovers” and “warring families” tropes we see on TV.

  3. jkevin13
    March 24, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    Well, we should not be very surprised at all. I guess that China and Japan are interested with Shakespeare because he is “too far” from them. It seems to be exoticism (which I think we should not just use in post-colonial discourse) also.

    Look at how, for example, Japanese mangas digest Western culture–from the robots, religion, or how they set some of them in Western countries, etc. They do it so much that they already tend to mix Japanese culture with Western ones.

    Look then, at Hollywood, with all the kung fu movies they have produced. I guess it is a mutual attraction (though some might argue that it has to do with colonialism).

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