Tsubouchi Shōyō


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Japanese writer, scholar, and translator.

Tsubouchi was born at Ōt, near Nagoya, into a samurai family. He graduated from Tokyo Imperial University in 1883 and the same year began teaching at the institution that was later to become Waseda University, where he was to remain for nearly fifty years. He soon won fame both as a novelist and as a translator of the English classics into Japanese. Tōsei shoseikatagi (1885–86), about the follies of contemporary university students, is probably his best-known novel; in it he puts into practice the principles of realism that he urged in his influential critical work Shōsetsu shinzui (1885). In 1891 he became the founder-editor of the literary journal Waseda bungaku.

Influenced by modern European trends in the theatre, Tsubouchi began writing plays in the 1890s. The best of these are Kiri hitoha (1896), Shinkyoku Urashima (1904), and En no gyōja (1916). He was also the moving spirit behind the shingeki (new theatre) movement, which revitalized Japanese drama. From 1907 to 1928 he was engaged upon the mammoth task of a complete Japanese translation of the works of Shakespeare.

Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism.

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