Art & Design

Ayakashi – An Evening of Unnerving Japanese Literature on Stage

23 September 2017, London

Japanese folklore and literature take to the stage in a one-time performance of Ayakashi, a double bill of ghost storytelling and staged reading, specially picked to match the dungeon-like beauty of The Horse Hospital in Russell Square. In collaboration with theatre company Doubtful Sound, the Japan Society is pleased to present this unique show in which actors from London and Tokyo collaborate in adapting and reading Japanese modern stories and traditional legends on stage.


The evening will start with storytelling of Japanese folktales from Yamagata and Ishikawa. Doubtful Sound has chosen some of the darker tales from their repertoire for this event. Growing private parts, snake wives, dancing necromantic cats, and ‘the woman who wouldn’t eat’ all feature in these tales from rural Japan.


Following the storytelling, Japanese actress Kisato Nishi will perform a staged reading of Natsume Soseki’s The Tower of London. The story combines Natsume’s real observations of the Tower of London while he was living here in the early 1900s with fictional visions the tower conjured up.


The show runs approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes, including one 15 minute interval. Language: English & Japanese (with English subtitles).


Shinako Wakatsuki
Kisato Nishi
Chiaki Yamauchi
Gavin Harrington-Odedra
Katie Turner
Andrew Wakatsuki-Robinson


Doubtful Sound is a bilingual theatre company from Tokyo, now based in London. They create theatre works inspired by traditional Japanese stories and folktales from around Japan. For their main work, Yama – Tales of Shonai, Doubtful Sound worked closely with the Poet, Hiroshi Hatakeyama to turn the folk-tales he had collected during the 1960s and 70s from the Shonai area of Japan into a production for the stage. After their research and performances in Tohoku, Doubtful Sound has performed bilingual versions Yama – Tales of Shonai in Tokyo, London and Surrey, and will be curating a new event in Stockholm in April, 2018.


Kisato Nishi studied at the Faculty of Letters Gakushuin University, graduating with an MA in Cultural Studies on Corporeal and Visual Representation. She currently works at the Drama Studio of the New National Theatre in Tokyo. She has produced a number of staged reading performances at Nerima City Public Library, and often works as a dramaturg and translator for theatre groups in Tokyo.


Shinako Wakatsuki is an actress and co-founder of Doubtful Sound, working with both the Tokyo and London troupes. She trained in Nihon-buyo from the age of three, and graduated from Royal Holloway with an MA in theatre studies. She has performed Beckett’s Rockaby at the Dublin Fringe Festival and the Thission Theatre in Athens; Ionesco’s The Lesson, and Sarah Kane’s Phaedra’s Love in Tokyo; and was an actor in Madame Butterfly at the Royal Albert Hall in 2007, 2011, and 2015. She has worked on and off with Kisato Nishi for years; starting by translating into Japanese, and performing Phaedra’s Love together, and later collaborating in Nishi’s staged readings in Tokyo.


To reserve your place, please call the Japan Society office on 020 3075 1996 or email


Advance booking deadline: Wednesday 20 September 2017


Teicket: £15 advance ticket
£18 on the door (Please note that only cash will be accepted on the day)


23 September 2017, 7.00pm

The Horse Hospital, Colonnade, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 1JD

Japan Society