Andrew Tsubaki

Funeral service for Andrew Takahisa Tsubaki, 78, Lawrence, will be held 1 p.m. Sunday, December 20, 2009, at Warren-McElwain Mortuary.  Inurnment will be in Pioneer Cemetery.  He died December 16, 2009, at his home.

He was born November 29, 1931, in Tokyo, Japan the son of Ken and Yasu Tsubaki.

Dr. Tsubaki received his BA in English from Tokyo Gakugei University in 1954, post-graduate in Drama at University of Saskatchewan (Saskatoon) in 1959, MFA in Theatre Arts from TCU in 1961, PhD in Speech and Drama from University of Illinois (Champagne-Urbana) in 1967.

Dr. Tsubaki directed the plays Kanjincho, Rashomon, King Lear, Fujito, Shimizu, Hippolytus, Busu, The Missing Lamb, Suehirogari, Sumidagawa, and Tea between 1973 and 1995.  He choreographed the plays Antigone, Hamlet, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Man and the Masses, The Children of Fate, and The Great Theatre of the World, between 1987 and 1994. 

Dr. Tsubaki was a visiting professor and guest lecturer at Carleton College in 1974 and again as Benedict distinguished visiting professor of Asian Studies in 1993, Tsuda University in 1975, Tel-Aviv University in 1975, Missouri Repertory Theatre in 1976, National School of Drama at New Delhi, India in 1983.

He was a citation recipient of the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2003 and was named to the Order of Sacred Treasure by the Japanese government in 2006 for his life work in promotion of cultural exchange and mutual understanding between the United States and Japan.  In 2004, he received a Statement of Appreciation from the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Hiratsuka International Exchange Association.  He was named an Honorary Citizen of Katohi, Greece, for his work in establishing a semiannual KU summer study abroad program in theatre, hosted there.

Dr. Tsubaki worked as a teacher at the Bunkyo-ku 4th Jr. High School in Tokyo from 1954 to 1958 and as a scene designer at Bowling Green State University from 1964 to 1968 and held appointments as Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor of Theatre and Film, and East Asian Languages and Cultures from 1968 to 2000.  He was Director of the International Theatre Studies Center from 1971 to 2000 and Director of International Classical Theatre from 1988.  He was Chairman of the East Asian Languages and Cultures Department at the university from 1983 to 1990.  He became Professor Emeritus in 2000.

Dr. Tsubaki held visiting scholar appointments as a World University Service Scholar at the University of Saskatchewan in 1958, a Research Fellow for The Japan Foundation in 1974 and 1990, and a Research Fulbright grantee in 1983.

Publication activities include area editor of the Asian Theatre Journal, University of Honolulu, Hawaii from 1982 to 1994, member of the Editorial Board of Studies in American Drama of Oxford, Mississippi from 1985 to 1988, editor of the Theatre Companies of the World in 1986, contributing author to Indian Theatre: Traditions of Performance in 1990, contributions of 7 entries in Japanese Traditional plays to the International Dictionary of Theatre, Volume 1 in 1992, and Volume 2 in 1994.

Academic association membership includes election in 2002 as a Fellow of the College of American Theatre, Member of the American Theatre Association, Chairman of the Asian Theatre Program from 1976 to 1979, Association for Asian Studies, Association Kansas Theatres, Chairman of Association Kansas Theatres U/C Division from 1980 to 1982,
Association for Theatre in Higher Education, Association for Asian Performance.

Dr. Tsubaki practiced Ki Aikido martial art from 1978 and was a 5th degree black belt and a founder of the Kansas Ki Society.  He was also an avid traveler and photographer.

He married Lilly Yuri Takashiba on August 3, 1963, in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.  She survives of the home.

Other survivors include two sons, Arthur Yuichi, Rockford, IL and Philip Takeshi, Campinas, Brazil, and six grandchildren; a brother, Yoshihiro Tsubaki, Yokohama, Japan. 

The family will greet friends after the service.

Memorial contributions may be made in his name to Kansas Ki Society and sent in care of the mortuary.

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3 Condolences

  1. Doris Ganser on December 30, 2009 at 12:00 am

    Dear Mrs. Tsubaki and Family,
    Please accept my personal condolences as well as those of the area translation and interpreter community. What many did not know was that Dr. Tsubaki was also a superb interpreter, in fact I just shocked just now when I found out he had passed away when I went to the Internet for his telephone number to contact him for a new assignment. He also gave a brilliant presentation at a translator conference in Lawrence a decade or so ago. I have never met anyone who did not admire him, and all our clients for whom he had ever interpreted specifically asked for him again. He and I had also become good friends over the years, although we had met only a few times and most subsequent contact was by telephone. I greatly admired his immense knowledge. He will be missed personally and in the profession.



  2. Tudor Van Hampton on December 30, 2009 at 12:00 am

    I last spoke with the Tsubakis on top of a skyscraper overlooking Lake Michigan in Chicago, where I was fortunate to have them at my 2006 wedding. Dr. Tsubaki was a gifted artist and a patient teacher. He was also a kind employer. He taught me–above all else–that you can do just about anything if your mind and body are in the right place. Jenie and I will miss him dearly.



  3. Tudor Van Hampton on December 30, 2009 at 12:00 am

    I last spoke with the Tsubakis on top of a skyscraper overlooking Lake Michigan in Chicago, where I was fortunate to have them at my 2006 wedding. Dr. Tsubaki was a gifted artist and a patient teacher. He was also a kind employer. He taught me–above all else–that you can do just about anything if your mind and body are in the right place. Jenie and I will miss him dearly.



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