Stage director Yukio Ninagawa, renowned worldwide for his interpretations of plays by William Shakespeare and Greek tragedies, died Thursday of multiple organ failure caused by pneumonia, theater sources said. He was 80.
Following his debut as a theater director in 1969, the native of Saitama Prefecture successfully directed “Romeo and Juliet” in 1974, his first production in a big theater.
After directing “Medea” in European countries such as Italy and Greece in 1983, his first production outside of Japan, Ninagawa’s works incorporating Japan’s kabuki and other Asian cultural features were performed overseas many times.
In 1999, his production of “King Lear” was performed at Britain’s Royal Shakespeare Theater.
In 2006, Ninagawa launched the Saitama Gold Theater troupe of elderly actors and became artistic director of Sainokuni Saitama Arts Theater.
After undergoing surgery for angina in January 2013, his health deteriorated in the fall of 2014, forcing Ninagawa to use a wheelchair when commuting to work.
The director won many awards in Japan, including the Medal with Purple Ribbon given for contributions to the arts and academia in 2001 and Japan’s top cultural award, the Order of Culture, in 2010.
Ninagawa is survived by his wife Hiroko, also known as actress Tomoko Mayama, and daughter Mika, a photographer and film director.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.