TOKYO -- Keita Asari, a leading stage director and former head of Shiki Theatre Company, died of malignant lymphoma at a hospital in Tokyo on July 13, it has been learned. He was 85.
A native of Tokyo, Asari is known for bringing about innovation to the theater industry in postwar Japan. He established Shiki Theatre Company in 1953 along with students at the University of Tokyo and others while he was studying at Keio University. Under the influence of playwright Michio Kato, the theater troupe initially played mainly works by French playwrights Jean Anouilh and Jean Giraudoux.
Asari was born to his father Tsuruo Asari, a member of a group that launched the Tsukiji Shogekijo theater group in the 1920s. Asari's great uncle was the late Kabuki actor Ichikawa Sadanji II.
A funeral for Asari was held by his relatives. He is survived by his wife, actress Ryoko Nomura. A farewell gathering for the late director will be held at a later date.