Modern Japanese theater movement. A term meaning ‘new theater,’ shingeki is one of the many cultural developments of the Meiji period that reflect the complex interplay of tradition and modernization. Shinkgeki refers specifically to a modernist movement led by Kaoru Osanai (1881-1928). Reacting against the stale conventionalism of kabuki and the failed attempts to establish a modern kabuki style (the so-called shimpa movement), Osanai broke with the native theatrical tradition. Having spent years attempting to promote. Chekhov, Ibsen, Shaw, Pirandello and Strindberg, he finally succeeded in establishing Japan’s first modern theater, the Tzukiji Shogekijo, in 1924. Shingeki ultimately went beyond stagings of Western classics like A Doll’s House and The Cherry Orchard and promoted modern dramaturgy among Japanese playwrights as well. Shingeki-style modernism was much influenced by the advent of film.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

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