Leading Japanese theatre critic Akihiko Senda dies, aged 74

Akihiko Senda, one of the most prominent theatre critics in Japan, has died. His death was announced by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, where Senda served on the editorial board. He was 74 years old.

He was probably best known for the book Japanese Contemporary Theatre, published as a paperback in 1995 and which became a popular entry point for many readers to learn the basics about the scene. The Voyage of Contemporary Japanese Theatre (1988) was translated by J. Thomas Rimer and published in 1997. It is a good overview of developments in Japanese drama in the second half of the twentieth century, though naturally is no longer up-to-date.

More recently, A Guide to the Japanese Stage: From Traditional to Cutting Edge was published in 2004, co-written by Senda. He also wrote books about directors Yukio Ninagawa and Jūrō Kara.

akihiko senda japanese theatre critic reviewer drama

Senda had reportedly been working as usual until the middle of this month, when he fell ill with malignant lymphoma. He passed away on the night of May 22nd.

2 responses to “Leading Japanese theatre critic Akihiko Senda dies, aged 74

  1. Hi William, I’m so sorry to hear that Senda-san died. I’d not realized that he was ill. One correction is necessary in your notice. Senda’s translator was J. Thomas Rimer, not Ritter.

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    • Thank you for the correction. I was writing quickly late at night, so must have misread the name in my rush to get the news online.

      On a personal note, I never met Senda properly myself, though many of my colleagues knew him.

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