Paper Status Tracking


Emi Hamana


Tokyo Woman’s Christian University, Tokyo, Japan


Yukio Ninagawa (1935-2016) was expected to achieve in a few years the great milestone of directing the complete collection of Shakespeare plays in new Japanese translations. This paper reconsiders Ninagawa’s direction from a global/local perspective with a special focus on several last works directed by him: Richard II, performed by young players of the Saitama Next Theater in February 2012, which was especially intended for the local Japanese audience; Ninagawa Macbeth, which was performed in September 2015 and was a revival of the director’s internationally-acclaimed production, first performed in Japan in 1980 and abroad in 1985 onwards; and Two Gentlemen of Verona, the thirty-first in his series of Shakespeare plays and seventh in his series of Shakespeare plays with all-male casts, in October 2015. His last plays were not as perfect as he was still experimenting. This paper concludes, however, that while possessed by the power of theater, his direction emits its magical and subversive power and suggestion to give the audience vital energy to live in this world of tough conflicts. He continued to hope to make global and local spectators wonder at the plays he directed.


Shakespeare, Yukio Ninagawa, the power of theater, wonder, affect

Cite this paper

Akishima, Y. (2015). Yukio Ninagawa and William Shakespeare. Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten.
Anonymous. (26 May 2016). Yukio Ninagawa theater director—Obituary. The Telegraph. Retrieved from 
Billington, M. (16 May 2016). Yukio Ninagawa obituary. The Guardian. Retrieved from
Braunmuller, A. R. (2016). Macbeth, three influential late twentieth-century productions: Kurosawa, Polanski, Ninagawa. In B. R. Smith, et al. (Eds.), The Cambridge guide to the worlds of Shakespeare (Vol. 2, pp. 1604-1607). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Gaines, B. (30 April 2016). Monumental Japanese production of Shakespeare’s Richard II opens Romanian festival. Retrieved from
Greenblatt, S. (1991). Marvellous possessions: The wonder of the new world. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Hamana, E. (2012). Connecting cultures from Shakespeare to contemporary Asian theater (In Japanese). Tokyo: Tsukuba University Press. 
Hamana, E. (Forthcoming 2017). Last Shakespeare plays directed by Yukio Ninagawa: Possessed by the power of theater. In K. Kujawinska-Courtney and G. Zinkiewicz (Eds.), Shakespeare: His infinite variety. Lodz: Lodz University Press. 
Hoenselaars, T. (2016). International encounters. In B. R. Smith, et al. (Eds.), The Cambridge guide to the worlds of Shakespeare (Vol. 2, pp. 1033-1046). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Huang, A. (2016). Boomerang Shakespeare: Foreign Shakespeare in Britain. In B. R. Smith, et al. (Eds.), The Cambridge guide to the worlds of Shakespeare (Vol. 2, pp. 1094-1101). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Huang, A. C. Y. (2013). Yukio Ninagawa. In P. Holland (Ed.), Brook, Hall, Ninagawa, Lepage. Great Shakespeareans (Vol. XVIII, pp. 79-112). London: Bloomsbury.
Kawai, S. (2008). Ninagawa Yukio. In J. R. Brown (Ed.), The Routledge Companion to Directors’ Shakespeare (pp. 269-283). London: Routledge.
Kawai, S. (May 2016). The significance of producing Richard II for the Saitama Shakespeare Series. Higeki Kigeki, (No. 780, pp. 62-64). Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobo.
Ninagawa, Y. (2013). Engeki no Chikara (The power of theater). Tokyo: Nihon Keizai Shinbun Press. 
Ninagawa, Y. (28 May 2016). Special interview with Yukio Ninagawa theater director. [TV programme]. NHK 1.
Ninagawa, Y. (4 June 2016). Documentary: Yukio Ninagawa’s challenge. [TV programme]. NHK BS Premium.
Ninagawa, Y., & Hasebe, H. (2012). Engijutsu (The art of direction). Tokyo: Chikuma Shobo.
Programme of NINAGAWA Macbeth. (2015). Tokyo: Hori Production Inc.
Saitama Arts Theater. (26 June 2016). Main theater. Retrieved from
Shakespeare, W. (1998a). Richard II. In R. Proudfoot, et al. (Eds.), The Arden Shakespeare complete works (pp. 669-698). Surry: Thomas Nelson. 
Shakespeare, W. (1998b). The two gentlemen of Verona. In R. Proudfoot, et al. (Eds.), The Arden Shakespeare complete works (pp. 1217-1240). Surry: Thomas Nelson.
Soule, L. W. (2000). Actor as anti-character: Dionysus, the devil, and the boy Rosalind. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press.
Tanaka, N. (13 May 2016). World was a stage for acclaimed theater director Yukio Ninagawa. Japan Times. Retrieved from
Uchida, K. (May 2016). Baptized by Ninagawa Shakespeare. Higeki Kigeki, (No. 780, pp. 46-49). Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobo.

About | Terms & Conditions | Issue | Privacy | Contact us
Coryright © 2015 David Publishing Company All rights reserved, 616 Corporate Way, Suite 2-4876, Valley Cottage, NY 10989
Tel: 1-323-984-7526, 323-410-1082; Fax: 1-323-984-7374, 323-908-0457 ,, Email: