Tadashi Suzuki

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Tadashi Suzuki
Tadashi Suzuki in 2017
Tadashi Suzuki in 2017
Native name
鈴木 忠志
BornShizuoka, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan
OccupationTheatre director, playwright
Alma materWaseda University

Tadashi Suzuki (鈴木 忠志, born June 20, 1939) is a Japanese avant-garde theatre director, writer, and philosopher.

He is the founder and director of the Suzuki Company of Toga (SCOT), and organizer of Japan’s first international theatre festival (Toga Festival). With American director Anne Bogart, he co-founded the Saratoga International Theatre Institute in Saratoga Springs, New York.

He is the creator of the "Suzuki Method" of actor training,[1] which emphasizes stylized body work and physicality drawing from dance and elements of traditional Japanese theater.

Suzuki was general artistic director of Shizuoka Performing Arts Center (SPAC) (1995~2007), an international committee member of the Theatre Olympics, founding member of the BeSeTo Festival (jointly organized by leading theatre artists from Japan, China and Korea), and chairman of the Board of Directors for the Japan Performing Arts Foundation, a nationwide network of theatre professionals in Japan.


Suzuki became involved in the Angura ("underground") theater movement in Japan in the early 1960s, and founded a theater troupe called the Waseda Little Theatre, which focused on the physical talents of star actress Kayoko Shiraishi.[1] It was with the Waseda Little Theatre that Suzuki began to develop his Suzuki Method of actor training.[1]

Suzuki's works include On the Dramatic Passions”,[2] The Trojan Women,[3] Dionysus,[4] Vision of Lear, Cyrano de Bergerac, and Madame de Sade, among others.

Besides productions with his own company, he has directed several international collaborations, such as The Tale of Lear (1988), co-produced and presented by four leading regional theatres in the US, many of whose actors had studied with him;[5] King Lear, presented with the Moscow Art Theatre; Oedipus Rex, co-produced by Cultural Olympiad and the Düsseldorf Schauspielhaus; and Electra, produced by Ansan Arts Center / Arco Arts Theatre in Korea[6] and the Taganka Theatre in Russia.

He relocated his company from Tokyo to the remote mountain village of Toga in 1976. The Toga Art Park now comprises six theaters, rehearsal facilities, offices, lodgings, and restaurants. It continues to host a summer and winter season of performances, symposiums, workshops and competitions.

Teaching and writing[edit]

Suzuki has articulated his theories in a number of books. A collection of his writings in English, The Way of Acting, is published by Theatre Communications Group (US).

He has taught his system of actor training in schools and theatres throughout the world, including The Juilliard School in New York and the Moscow Art Theatre. The Cambridge University Press published The Theatre of Suzuki Tadashi as part of their Directors in Perspective series, featuring leading theatre directors of the 20th century. This series includes works on Meyerhold, Brecht, Strehler, Peter Brook and Robert Wilson among others.


Suzuki's family practiced gidayu, the musical accompaniment of Banraku. As a student in elementary school, Suzuki would have to sit for an hour to watch his father's singing, which he found rather frightening at the time. During highschool and college Suzuki felt that theatre clubs, where they mostly talked about european text, just goofed off. All this influenced his views on theatre at an early age.[7]


  • Culture is the Body by Tadashi Suzuki
  • Fragments of Glass: A Conversation between Hijikata Tatsumi and Suzuki Tadashi
  • Interview: The Word Is an Act of the Body by William O. Beeman, Tadashi Suzuki and Kosho Kadogami
  • The Way of Acting: The Theatre Writings of Tadashi Suzuki by Tadashi Suzuki, Theatre Communications Group, (1993), ISBN 978-0-930452-56-8


  1. ^ a b c Kapur, Nick (2018). Japan at the Crossroads: Conflict and Compromise after Anpo. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. p. 209.
  2. ^ The Nobel Columbia Encyclopedia of modern drama 2007. Columbia University Press. 2007. ISBN 9780231144247. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
  3. ^ "DIDASKALIA: Ancient Theatre Today". Retrieved February 28, 2011.
  4. ^ "Theatre Review, June 3, 1982". The New York Times. Retrieved February 28, 2011.
  5. ^ Henry III, William A. (May 2, 1988). "Theater: Biological View THE TALE OF LEAR". Time Magazine. Archived from the original on November 26, 2010. Retrieved February 28, 2011.
  6. ^ "The Project Muse: Theatre Journal - Volume 61, Number 3, October 2009, pp. 472-474". Retrieved February 28, 2011.
  7. ^ Tadashi Suzuki and Anne Bogart at Symposium on the Suzuki Method with SITI Company—Sat, June 3 2017, retrieved 2021-12-07

Further reading[edit]

  • James R. Brandon, Training at the Waseda Little Theatre: The Suzuki Methodby
  • Ian Carruthers and Yasunari Takahashi, The Theatre of Tadashi Suzuki, Cambridge University Press, (2004) ISBN 978-0-521-59024-2
  • David G. Goodman, The Return of the Gods: Theatre in Japan Today
  • Tatsuro Ishii, Kazuko Yoshiyuki on Acting
  • Jadwiga Rodowicz, Rethinking Zeami: Talking to Kanze Tetsunojo

External links[edit]