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Shakespeare and East Asia

Alexa Alice Joubin

Publication Date - March 2021

ISBN: 9780198703570

272 pages
8.0 x 5.3 inches

In Stock

This volume explores post-1950s East Asian interpretations of Shakespeare and it analyses cinematic and dramatic works from Japan, China, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong.


Structured around modes in which one might encounter Asian-themed performances and adaptations, Shakespeare and East Asia identifies four themes that distinguish post-1950s East Asian cinemas and theatres from works in other parts of the world: Japanese formalistic innovations in sound and spectacle; reparative adaptations from China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong; the politics of gender and reception of films and touring productions in South Korea and the UK; and multilingual, diaspora works in Singapore and the UK. These adaptations break new ground in sound and spectacle; they serve as a vehicle for artistic and political remediation or, in some cases, the critique of the myth of reparative interpretations of literature; they provide a forum where diasporic artists and audiences can grapple with contemporary issues; and, through international circulation, they are reshaping debates about the relationship between East Asia and Europe.

Bringing film and theatre studies together, this book sheds new light on the two major genres in a comparative context and reveals deep structural and narratological connections among Asian and Anglophone performances. These adaptations are products of metacinematic and metatheatrical operations, contestations among genres for primacy, or experimentations with features of both film and theatre.


  • The first volume on Shakespeare on stage and on screen in East Asia in comparative contexts
  • Presents knowledge of hitherto unknown films and stage adaptations
  • Studies works from Japan, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, and the UK
  • The glossary and chronology provide orientation regarding specialized vocabulary and timeline

About the Author(s)

Alexa Alice Joubin, Professor of English, Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Theatre, East Asian Languages and Literatures, and International Affairs, George Washington University

Alexa Alice Joubin is Professor of English, Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Theatre, East Asian Languages and Literatures, and International Affairs at George Washington University where she serves as founding Co-director of the Digital Humanities Institute. She holds the John M. Kirk, Jr. Chair in Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Middlebury College Bread Loaf School of English. At MIT, she is the founding co-director of Global Shakespeares, an open-access performance video archive.


"a nuanced view of what it means to think about Shakespeare and East Asia" -- Amanda Kennell, Assistant Teaching Professor of International Studies at North Carolina State University.

"In sum, this book is a major contribution to the understanding of the history and value of Shakespeare and East Asian theatre and film industry, and I recommend it to anyone interested in theatre and cinema studies." -- Huimin Wang

Table of Contents

    Prologue: The Cultural Meanings of Shakespeare and Asia Today
    1. 'To unpath'd waters, undream'd shores': Sound and Spectacle
    2. 'Our toil shall strive to mend': Politics of Remediation
    3. An 'isle full of noises': Polyphonic Reception
    4. 'Divided in three our kingdom': Multilingualism and Diaspora