“The ‘Asiatic’ Model”: The Brechtian Art of Refunctioning of Japanese (Asian) Theatre

  • Min Tian
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Theatre and Performance History book series (PSTPH)


Bertolt Brecht’s practical approach to Japanese theatre, which necessitates the refunctioning of it by displacing it from its historical, cultural as well as aesthetic contexts was consistent with his general approach to classical traditions. Brecht treated classical traditions as raw material, and what interested him was the usability and adaptability (displaceability) of the traditions concerned, not their essential differences and differentiations. In determining the transportability and usability of Japanese theatre, a foreign dramatic art, Brecht consciously chose to disregard its historical, cultural, and ethnic peculiarities. The Brechtian art of refunctioning prescribes and legitimizes the copyist’s right and freedom of using (or abusing) the material to the benefit of the copyist’s work (practical and theoretical). The act of abuse or sacrilege against the material, however, does not sanctify the afterlife of the material with its true identity, but displaces it and thereby deprives it of its true identity. The material may live on, but is forced to live the life, and to mirror the identity, of the copyist’s work.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Min Tian
    • 1
  1. 1.University of IowaIowa CityUSA

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