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Shinya Takahashi

Shinya Takahashi

Interweaving Performance Cultures

Fellow 2012/13

Shinya Takahashi is professor of German Studies at Chuo University, Tokyo. His research interests include post-dramatic theatre in Germany and Japan as well as the history of theatrical and literary exchanges between Europe and Japan. He has published a number of articles on René Pollesch, Christoph Marthaler, Andres Veiel, among many others. He has studied the directing styles of three internationally renowned Japanese directors: Yukio Ninagawa, Hideki Noda and Toshiki Okada. Another field of research is the dramatic oeuvre of eminent contemporary writers in Germany and Japan, such as the work of Hisashi Inoue. For the past four years he has been working on the new dramatic style of modern German writers in collaboration with Prof. Hans-Peter Bayerdörfer of Munich University. In 2012 he produced a scenic reading of Schimmelpfennig’s An Arabian Night in Tokyo. In 2011 he wrote an article for the German theatre journal Theater der Zeit on Japanese theatre following the Fukushima nuclear accident.

Research Project

The Interweaving of Cultures in Japanese Theatre Today

The aim of my research project is to analyze the interweaving of cultures in Japanese theatre performances from the 1990s onwards and to identify their characteristics from the perspective of today’s theatre and performance theories. I will focus on analyzing the performative aspect of silence during performances.

I would also like to draw a rough sketch of the Japanese theatre landscape in relation to the interweaving of cultures in performance with speech acts over the last twenty years. The focus of my research lies on the productions and performances of three leading Japanese directors: Yukio Ninagawa (born 1935), Hideki Noda (born 1955) and Toshiki Okada (born 1973). They belong to three different generations of theatre directors and have been playing a leading role in the interweaving of cultures in performance in Japan, Europe and Asia from the 1990s onwards.

The main focus of my research centres on Toshiki Okada’s productions and performances, which should be compared and contrasted with those of Ninagawa and Noda, on the one hand, and with those of René Pollesch and She She Pop, on the other. I intend to construct a hypothesis for analyzing the performative aspects of silent scenes as well as those involving a rich soundscape. 

Recommended Publications

  • Williams, G. J., “Director, text, actor, and performance in the postmodern world,” in P. Zarrilli et al. (eds.) Theatre Histories: An Introduction, New York: Routledge, 2006, pp. 512-50. 
  • Koreya, S., Wanderjahre, Berlin: Henschelverlag, 1985.
  • Takahashi, S., “Aufführen oder aufhören - Welche Rolle darf, kann, soll Theater nach der dreifachen Katastrophe in Japan spielen? Ein Einblick in die Szene sechs Monate danach,” in Theater der Zeit, vol. 66, no. 10, 2011, pp. 13-14.


Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung