The Shakespeare Company Japan

- An Introduction -

The Shakespeare Company Japan is an organisation set up by a group of people who shared a dream to build a replica of the world famous Globe Theatre in the Tohoku (North-east) region of Japan, with all the natural warmth and comfort that wood possesses.

In 1992 the inaugural meeting of the Shakespeare Company Japan was called by its founder Kazumi Shimodate.

From this organisation, the performing Shakespeare Company Troupe was born, and using scripts adapted and translated from the original works, the troupe is striving to develop a new kind of Shakespeare play.

The aims of the Shakespeare Company Japan are to transmit the culture of the Tohoku region, and to build a theatre loved by all. In order to build this theatre, the troupe has since 1997 been raising funds at its performance venues.

Today, the main operations of the Shakespeare Company Japan are carried out through the troupe's activities, but there are hundreds of other members giving support. Kazumi Shimodate is at the centre carrying out the literary side by adapting and translating the original plays, as well as directing the productions.

The Shakespeare Company Japan is a non-profit making organisation.

The Shakespeare Company Japan Profile

PRESIDENT:Kazumi Shimodate

LOCATION:Sendai city, Miyagi-ken, Japan


AIM:To build a warm and inviting wooden theatre (the Japanese globe)
in the Tohoku (North-east) region of Japan.


The Shakespeare Company Troupe profile

PRESIDENT: Kazumi Shimodate

LOCATION:Sendai city, Miyagi-ken, Japan


FIRST PRODUCTION:Romeo and Juliet, September 1995

MAIN AIM: To create and perform Shakespeare plays

MAIN ACTIVITIES:Through creating a new kind of Shakespeare play
the troupe aims to uncover and transmit the historical culture of
the Tohoku region. And through these activities the troupe hopes
to gather enough backing to build a theatre.

MEMBERS:25 actors from various areas of the Tohoku region,
most in full-time employment, a few are students.
15 technical staff all in full-time employment.

Why do we use the dialect of North-east Japan, Tohoku-ben?

By incorporating the charm of a dialect into a translation we hope to express a deeper and broader interpretation of Shakespeare's world. Although there are words from many different regions in the original texts, the standard Japanese into which all adaptations have been translated is thought of as somewhat cold and distant by the people of Tohoku. By making use of the abundant vitality which exists in Japanese dialects as theatrical language, we aim to create a new slant on Shakespeare's plays both in Japan and abroad.

Why set them in the Tohoku region of Japan?

Wherever a character speaks in a dialect in the original work, Tohoku-ben is used as it is natural to the translator and the actors, and therefore it follows on that the play itself should naturally be set in Tohoku. And in doing so, the rich cultural traditions of Tohoku live on. By taking the atmosphere and history of Tohoku as a basis for producing Shakespeare's plays, we aim to express the charm of his plays in a new vain. At the same time, through staging the play in Tohoku, the culture and history of the region is being revived.