Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Evelyn Gajowski

Second Committee Member

Felicia Campbell

Third Committee Member

Charles Whitney

Fourth Committee Member

Gary Totten

Fifth Committee Member

William Jankowiak

Number of Pages



The leading question I am exploring in this dissertation is “why is Romeo and Juliet particularly popular in modern Japan?” My guiding questions are centered on how performances and adaptations use the existing themes in the play to reinforce or attack certain customs and attitudes in modern Japan. I examine productions in various genres that have a large audience among young Japanese people, including stage musicals, manga comic books, and animated anime series. What comes to the fore in all of these adaptations is that Juliet is really the center of the play and it is the “battle for the soul,” as it were, of young Japanese women. Far from being a general warning against suicide or hasty love, the adaptations are designed with didactic purpose; they can either promote the dangerous beauty of extending one’s free will or they can serve as warnings for putting oneself before family and community. I argue that Romeo and Juliet is currently enjoying a surge in popularity as this binary is the central conflict within the culture. Women choosing careers and waiting for marriage are seen on one side as the cause of male suicides and the declining birthrate, while oppressive patriarchal traditions and still-common arranged marriages are seen on the other as a mechanism to control and “tame” women.


Adaptation; Gender; Japan; Juliet; Romeo; Shakespeare


Arts and Humanities | Asian Studies | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Gender and Sexuality

File Format


File Size

1.0 MB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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