Shakespearean tragedies have played an important part in
modern and contemporary East Asian engagements with Western cultures.
Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Singaporean translations, rewritings, films,
and theatre productions have three important shared characteristics, namely
hybridization of genres, intra-regional and trans-historical allusions, and
spirituality. These adaptations tend to present the plays in hybrid
performative genres, sometimes turning tragedy into comedy or parody. These
adaptations are also informed by intra-regional borrowing and allusions that
matter to each separate cultural location and to East Asia as a whole. They
tend to interpret Shakespearean tragedies through issues of spirituality and
through the artists' personal, rather than national, identities, giving
primacy to personal life stories and to the interaction with the audience,
rather than attempting 'authentic' representations either of
Shakespearean tragedy or indeed of 'Asia'.