Nogyō Shōj flyer, or the idiocy of Japanese theatre marketing

Picked up the new flyer for the much-heralded revival of Hideki Noda‘s Nogyō Shōjo starring Junko Emoto and Mikako Tabe, to be staged at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space (which of course, ahem, the author runs) in March next year.

Other than photos of the cast, the back of the flyer is dominated by a quotation by the production’s director, Suzuki Matsuo, in place of a blurb.

In it we are treated to such delightfully insightful sentences as:

「おもしろく演じてうただく」ことに力を注ごうと思う。台ホンは野田さんが書いているのだ。おもしろくやればなんとかなると信じている。芸術はおもしろくていいのだ、というボクの信念を、この芝居を通じていただければ、幸いです。

Which translates roughly as:

I want to put my strength into getting interesting performances. Mr. Noda wrote the script. If I make it interesting it will turn into something, I believe. It’s my belief that good theatre should be interesting — and if I can relate that through this play then I will be very happy.

If you wrote something as banal and meaningless as this on the back of a flyer for a major production at, say, the Royal National Theatre, you would be laughed out of the city. What idiocy possessed the marketing department of the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space to produce such trite and pointless text? It tells you nothing about the production; it is a total waste of print.

Having translated Japanese PR material, I know that the language has its own distinct style of copywriting and so on — but this is an exercise in the narcissistically mundane. Sadly, this is very much not an anomaly on theatre flyers here.

For more information on the production, see the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space website.

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