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.
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.