Japanese Actor Makoto Hirano Calls Lantern Theater’s Julius Caesar Racist

lantern theater julius caesar racist japanese

Lantern Theater Company is in the middle of a run of Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Julius Caesar at St. Stephen’s Theater. The setting is medieval Japan.

The City Paper didn’t like it. Inquirer critic Toby Zinman wasn’t much of a fan, calling the show “intriguing and frustrating.” And now Philadelphia theater artist Makoto Hirano, a native of Japan and samurai descendant, has deemed the show “racist.”

Here is the letter that Hirano hand-delivered to Lantern staff earlier this week:

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Here is the response from Lantern director Charles McMahon:

“One of the major goals of Lantern Theater Company has always been to foster dialogue and discussion among our audience. We have a long history of hiring actors of all backgrounds for Shakespeare roles, but our production of Julius Caesar has offended some people, and we want to better understand their concerns. I have reached out personally to Makoto as well as other members of the local theater and Asian American communities and am interested in hearing all points of view. I welcome the opportunity to further discuss diversity and cultural representation in the theater with anyone who has an interest in an open and direct exchange.”

PHOTO: Mark Garvin

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