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Tsubouchi Shoyo

Tsubouchi Shoyo

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was a Japanese author, critic
A critic is anyone who expresses a value judgement. Informally, criticism is a common aspect of all human expression and need not necessarily imply skilled or accurate expressions of judgement. Critical judgements, good or bad, may be positive , negative , or balanced...

, playwright
A playwright, also called a dramatist, is a person who writes plays.The term is not a variant spelling of "playwrite", but something quite distinct: the word wright is an archaic English term for a craftsman or builder...

, translator, editor
Editing is the process of selecting and preparing written, visual, audible, and film media used to convey information through the processes of correction, condensation, organization, and other modifications performed with an intention of producing a correct, consistent, accurate, and complete...

, educator, and professor
A professor is a scholarly teacher; the precise meaning of the term varies by country. Literally, professor derives from Latin as a "person who professes" being usually an expert in arts or sciences; a teacher of high rank...

 at Waseda University
Waseda University
, abbreviated as , is one of the most prestigious private universities in Japan and Asia. Its main campuses are located in the northern part of Shinjuku, Tokyo. Founded in 1882 as Tokyo Senmon Gakko, the institution was renamed "Waseda University" in 1902. It is known for its liberal climate...

. He was born Tsubouchi Yūzō (坪内 雄蔵), in Gifu prefecture
Gifu Prefecture
is a prefecture located in the Chūbu region of central Japan. Its capital is the city of Gifu.Located in the center of Japan, it has long played an important part as the crossroads of Japan, connecting the east to the west through such routes as the Nakasendō...

. He also used the pen name
Pen name
A pen name, nom de plume, or literary double, is a pseudonym adopted by an author. A pen name may be used to make the author's name more distinctive, to disguise his or her gender, to distance an author from some or all of his or her works, to protect the author from retribution for his or her...

 Haru no Yaoboro (春 の やおぼろ).

His book of criticism, Shōsetsu Shinzui (The Essence of the Novel), helped free novels and dramas from the low opinion that the Japanese had of such literature. Tsubouchi's writings on realism in literature influenced Masaoka Shiki
Masaoka Shiki
, pen-name of Masaoka Noboru , was a Japanese poet, author, and literary critic in Meiji period Japan. Shiki is regarded as a major figure in the development of modern haiku poetry...

's ideas about realism in haiku
' , plural haiku, is a very short form of Japanese poetry typically characterised by three qualities:* The essence of haiku is "cutting"...

. Tsubouchi's novel, Tōsei Shosei Kishitsu (Portraits of Contemporary Students), was one of the earliest modern novels in Japan.

His Kabuki
is classical Japanese dance-drama. Kabuki theatre is known for the stylization of its drama and for the elaborate make-up worn by some of its performers.The individual kanji characters, from left to right, mean sing , dance , and skill...

 play Kiri Hitoha (A Paulownia Leaf) was influenced by his studies of both the famous Kabuki and Jōruri
can refer to:*Jōruri , a type of sung narrative with shamisen accompaniment, typically found in Bunraku, a traditional Japanese puppet theatre.*Jōruri , an opera by Japanese composer Miki Minoru.*Jōruri-ji , a Buddhist temple near Nara....

 (puppet theater) dramatist Chikamatsu Monzaemon
Chikamatsu Monzaemon
Chikamatsu Monzaemon was a Japanese dramatist of jōruri, the form of puppet theater that later came to be known as bunraku, and the live-actor drama, kabuki...

 and Shakespeare. The play, in turn, influenced modern Kabuki. He also did a complete translation of the plays of Shakespeare, written in the old-fashion language of Kabuki.

His modern play, Shinkyoku Urashima, incorporating traditional dance and music, was a popular and critical success. The play was a retelling of a familiar Japanese folk-tale with a Rip Van Winkle
Rip Van Winkle
"Rip Van Winkle" is a short story by the American author Washington Irving published in 1819, as well as the name of the story's fictional protagonist. Written while Irving was living in Birmingham, England, it was part of a collection entitled The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon...

-like protagonist, Urashima Tarō
Urashima Taro
is a Japanese legend about a fisherman who rescues a turtle and is rewarded for this with a visit to Ryūgū-jō, the palace of Ryūjin, the Dragon God, under the sea...


Besides Shakespeare, he also translated a number of other works from English into Japanese, including Sir Walter Scott's The Bride of Lammermoor and Bulwer-Lytton
Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton
Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton PC , was an English politician, poet, playwright, and novelist. He was immensely popular with the reading public and wrote a stream of bestselling dime-novels which earned him a considerable fortune...

's novel Rienzi, the Last of the Roman Tribunes.

Tsubouchi founded and edited the periodical Waseda Bungaku (Waseda Literature), which published from 1891 to 1898. Tsubouchi is also noted for the long running ronsō (literary dispute) that he carried on with Mori Ōgai
Mori Ogai
was a Japanese physician, translator, novelist and poet. is considered his major work.- Early life :Mori was born as Mori Rintarō in Tsuwano, Iwami province . His family were hereditary physicians to the daimyō of the Tsuwano Domain...


Kabuki Plays

  • Kiri Hitoha (A Paulownia Leaf) written 1894-5, and performed in 1904
  • Maki no Kata (1896)
  • Hototogisu Kojō no Rakugetsu (The Sinking Moon over the Lonely Castle Where the Cuckoo Cries) (1897)

Modern Dramas

  • Shinkyoku Urashima (The New Urashima) (1904)
  • En no Gyōja (En the Ascetic) (1916)

See also

  • Futabatei Shimei
    Futabatei Shimei
    was a Japanese author, translator, and literary critic. Born Hasegawa Tatsunosuke in Edo , Futabatei's works are in the realist style popular in the mid- to late-19th century...

  • Japanese literature
    Japanese literature
    Early works of Japanese literature were heavily influenced by cultural contact with China and Chinese literature, often written in Classical Chinese. Indian literature also had an influence through the diffusion of Buddhism in Japan...

  • Hagiwara Hiromichi
    Hagiwara Hiromichi
    was a scholar of literature, philology, and nativist studies as well as an author, translator, and poet active in late-Edo period Japan. He is best known for the innovative commentary and literary analysis of The Tale of Genji was a scholar of literature, philology, and nativist studies...

  • Waseda University Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum
    Waseda University Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum
    Commonly known as "enpaku" in Japanese, the Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University is a university museum devoted to the history of drama with facilities used for cultural performances from all over the world, named for Tsubouchi Shōyō, a writer famously known for his work with...

External links

  • Tsubouchi, Shoyo at National Diet Library
    National Diet Library
    The is the only national library in Japan. It was established in 1948 for the purpose of assisting members of the in researching matters of public policy. The library is similar in purpose and scope to the U.S...

    , Japan
    Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

  • e-texts of Shoyo's works at Aozora Bunko
    Aozora Bunko
    Aozora Bunko is a Japanese digital library. This online collection encompasses several thousands of works of Japanese-language fiction and non-fiction. These include out-of-copyright books or works that the authors wish to make freely available....