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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien
Book Project: Okada Toshiki & Japanese Theatre
© Performance Research Books

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Book Project: Okada Toshiki & Japanese Theatre

 June 2019 - June 2022

Edited by Peter Eckersall, Barbara Geilhorn, Andreas Regelsberger, and Cody Poulton

Playwright, novelist and theatre director Okada Toshiki (b. 1973) is one of the most prominent voices of the current generation of Japanese contemporary theatre makers. He founded his globally influential theatre company chelfitsch in 1997. His plays, which have been staged at a large number of theatre festivals in Japan and all over the world, address issues such as social inequity, life in Japan after the 3/11 triple disaster and post-human society. Okada is a theatrical visionary whose use of language in 
his plays is indeed stimulating, ranging from the use of everyday colloquial expressions to meta-commentaries about the nature of language and its failure to communicate the complexity of human experience. As a pioneering artist in the 
field of interdisciplinary arts, Okada has created 
new forms of embodied performance. He has radically expanded the contexts and sites for live performance and has shown his works in theatres, nightclubs and galleries, on film and through 
digital media platforms.

Okada Toshiki & Japanese Theatre explores Okada’s work and its importance to the development of contemporary performance in Japan and around the world. Gathered here for the first time in English is a comprehensive selection of essays, interviews and translations of three of Okada’s plays by leading scholars and translators. Okada’s writing on theatre is also included, accompanied by an extensive array of images from his performances. In addressing the work of Okada Toshiki from an interdisciplinary perspective, the book provides an in-depth analysis of an outstanding Japanese artist and at the same contributes to a better understanding of art and society in contemporary Japan.

‘The phenomenal success of Okada Toshiki’s global productions has galvanized international critics into forming intriguing theoretical perspectives on his theatre. Acknowledging Okada’s affinity to Japan’s lost generation, Brechtian distantiation and Noh aesthetics, these critics have applied new conceptual frames such as the poetics of disarticulation, the poesis of liminality and slow dramaturgy to elucidate the deep structure of his performances.’ -- Mari Boyd, Professor Emeritus, Sophia University

‘The first book ever to be dedicated to one of the most influential theatre makers, so complete with analyses by eminent scholars across continents, Okada’s own interviews and pieces in translation. Bliss.’ -- Fujii Shintaro, Waseda University






Okada Toshiki’s Narrative Method

Cody Poulton

The ‘Hyper-Real’ and the Shadow of Noh

Stanca Scholz-Cionca

Making Time Material: On Okada Toshiki’s Time’s Journey Through a Room (2016)

Sara Jansen

Translating Okada Toshiki

Andreas Regelsberger

Fuzzy Boundaries, Foggy Pictures: Okada Toshiki’s poesies of liminality

Iwaki Kyōko

Ruptures, Gravity, Dwelling. Reflections on Okada Toshiki’s movement aesthetic

Holger Hartung


Seen From Close-up in the Distance: Shibuya as a bubble downtown

Noda Manabu

Simultaneous Turns in Globality: Performative and social turns in the new millennium, or theorizing/historicizing Okada Toshiki's welcome to European festival cultures

Uchino Tadashi

Reflections on Precarity and Emotional Fulfillment in Everyday Life in the Theatre of Okada Toshiki

Barbara Geilhorn

‘Who Knows We Want To Be An International Artist?’ Producing Okada Toshiki’s theatre and the international scene

Yokobori Masahiko

Okada Toshiki’s Dramaturgy in the Post-global Condition

Peter Eckersall

Foreign Assembly: Okada’s Time’s Journey through a Room in the United States

Carol Martin


An Interview with Okada Toshiki

Iwaki Kyōko

Reflux: A protean theatre theory

By Okada Toshiki. English translation by Iwaki Kyōko

Sounding like a Typical Post-Corona Theory of Theatre

By Okada Toshiki. English translation by Cody Poulton


Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner, and The Farewell Speech

By Okada Toshiki. English translation by Aya Ogawa

The Sonic Life of a Giant Tortoise

By Okada Toshiki. English translation by Aya Ogawa

Ground and Floor

By Okada Toshiki. English translation by Aya Ogawa

List of Works

Contributor Biographies

Completed Projects

Local Issues Take Stage – Culture and Community Revitalization

Recent Publications

Geilhorn, Barbara (2021). "Okada Toshiki & Japanese Theatre.". Neues vom Club JSPS, 03/2021. LINK
Geilhorn, Barbara (September 30, 2021). "readme.txt: „Okada Toshiki & Japanese Theatre.“". Hypotheses. LINK
Geilhorn, Barbara (2021). "Introduction". In: Eckersall, Peter, Geilhorn, Barbara, Regelsberger, Andreas & Poulton, Cody (Eds.), Okada Toshiki & Japanese Theatre (pp. 13-17). Preformance Research Books. LINK
Geilhorn, Barbara (2021). "Reflections on Precarity and Emotional Fulfillment in Everyday Life in the Theatre of Okada Toshi". In: Eckersall, Peter, Geilhorn, Barbara, Regelsberger, Andreas & Poulton, Cody (Eds.), Okada Toshiki & Japanese Theatre. (pp. 114-123). Performance Research Books. LINK
Geilhorn, Barbara, Eckersall, Peter, Regelsberger, Andreas & Poulton, Cody (Eds.) (2021). Okada Toshiki & Japanese Theatre. Performance Research Books. LINK


July 27, 2019
Contemporary Japanese Theatre Workshop


Barbara Geilhorn Barbara Geilhorn (until September 2023)
Cultural Studies, Theater and Performance Studies