Shōzō Satō

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Shōzō Satō (born 1933) is a professor emeritus of the College of Art and Design at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. He is the founder and former director of Japan House, and a former artist-in-residence at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.[1]

He is an internationally renowned Japanese master of Zen arts and visionary theatre director, most known for adapting Western classics to Japanese Kabuki theatre.[1]


Satō first arrived at the University of Illinois in 1964 as a visiting artist. In 1968, he founded the Japanese Arts and Culture Program, where he taught classes in traditional Japanese arts, such as calligraphy, sumi-e, ikebana, zen aesthetics, and tea ceremony.[1]

He is known for adapting western theater to a Kabuki style. Some of his adaptations include Macbeth, Medea, Othello, Faust, Achilles, and the operas, Madame Butterfly and The Mikado.[1][2] His last academic production was a Kabuki adaptation of Othello, titled Iago's Plot (2017), at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.[3]

He is also a visiting professor at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois.[4]

Satō is the author of The Art of Arranging Flowers: A Complete Guide to Japanese Ikebana, published in 1968 by Harry N. Abrams, Incorporated, New York, NY. The volume was printed and bound in Japan.[5]

Satō officiated at the wedding of actors Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally.[6]


In 2004, the Japanese Order of the Sacred Treasure was conferred.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d Vicic, Shannon (September 17, 1998). "Shozo Sato to receive honorary degree at commencement". Inside Illinois. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 18 (6). Archived from the original on June 14, 2010. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  2. ^ "Shozo Sato Papers, 1964-2004" (PDF). University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Archives. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  3. ^ "Iago's Plot". Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. March 2017. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  4. ^ "Ikebana for the 21st Century". Ikebana International San Francisco Bay Area Chapter. April 18, 1997. Archived from the original on December 13, 2004. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  5. ^ Satō, Shōzō (July 1, 1968). The Art of Arranging Flowers: A Complete Guide to Japanese Ikebana. New York: Harry N. Abrams. ISBN 978-0-81090-194-0.
  6. ^ "Interview with Nick Offerman". Larry King Live. Season 1. Episode 176. June 11, 2013. CNN.
  7. ^ "About Shozo Sato". Illinois State University. November 10, 2006. Archived from the original on July 19, 2011. Retrieved July 5, 2018.