In the drama, the first effects of the new currents were in the improved condition of the artists, no longer despised, but appreciated, and in the various kinds of reforms made to the theater: abbreviation of shows, more rational construction of halls, suppression of tea rooms, immoral traditional accessory of old theaters, etc. The production soon divides into two currents: the ancient (ky ū – ha), adhering to old-style dramas, and the new (shimpa) in which the actor Kawakami and his wife Sadayakko had an important part, who brought real Japan to the scene, as the new ideas had transformed it. Their success, however, was limited to the people, due to the vulgar tone and lack of intellectuality of their representations.
According to Plus-Size-Tips, the real reformers were the intellectuals, who created the modern drama on the European model. Here too Tsubouchi Shōyō, with the collaboration of Mori Ōgwai, marks a new era with historical compositions of character, full of color, but airing the ancient a little. At the beginning of the century, the dramatizations of the most popular novels (Hototogisu, Konjiki Yasha, etc.), while the European drama appears on the scene, after having undergone suitable adaptations intended to set it and make it intelligible to the masses. Among the authors thus treated, the following stand out: Shaw, Gorki, Ibsen, Maeterlinck, Racine, Corneille, Hauptmann and others. Among the most reputed playwrights of today we should mention Okamoto Kidō (born in 1872), versatile author of dramas in the old and new style, Nakamura Kichizō (born in 1877) author of socialist dramas, Osanai Kaoru (born in 1881), reformer and delicate writer of original compositions and translator of foreign dramas, Yamamoto Yūzō (born in 1887), realist and skilled character delineator and Kurata Hyakuzō (born in 1891), known for his Buddhist dramas. A sign of the progress of the times is the recent recognition ofn ō and the habuki.
Japanese literature studies in Italy. – In Italy the studies of Japanese literature began in the century. XIX, by Antelmo Severini, since 1863 professor of Far Eastern languages at the Royal Institute of Studî Superiori in Florence. He published numerous studies from 1872 to 1894, including: A Japanese Prince and His Court, Florence 1871; Men and screens, Japanese story by Riutei Tane Hiko, Florence 1872; The Japanese epigram, in Ann. of the Soc. it. St. Or., Florence 1873; Japanese astrology, Geneva 1875; Sinic – Japanese repertory, Florence 1875; The curiosities of Yohohama, Florence 1878; The Zahetori Monogatari, that is the fairy tale of the grandfather cuts bamboo. Florence 1881, etc. Carlo Puini, professor of history and geography of East Asia in the R. Ist. Di stud. sup. of Florence, translated from Japanese: The Seven Geniuses of Happiness, Florence 1872, and wrote News on Buddhism, from the Sinico – Japanese Encyclopedia, Florence 1877; and numerous other memoirs, in the Giorn. of the Soc. Asia. Ital., in the Riv. of st. or., etc. Carlo Valenziani taught Japanese at the University of Rome from 1876. He translated from Japanese: The Way of Filial Piety, Rome 1873 and Florence 1878; Japanese Proverbs, Rome 1897; Naga – mitu, ancient Japanese stage representation, in Rend. R. Acc. dei Lincei, 1891; Collection of acts of heroic value, in Giorn. of the Soc. As. It., 1892;Collection of comic interludes: The Prince of Satsuma, ibid., 1894; The beach of Suma, in L’Oriente, II, 1894; Osome and Hisamatsu, play by Chikamatsu Hanji, Rome 1894; On the life and works of Takizawa Bakin, in Rend. Acc. Lincei, Rome 1892, etc. Lodovico Nocentini, professor of Far Eastern languages and literature at the University of Rome since 1899, translated: The rebellion of Masakado and Sumitono, Florence 1878; Central Asia, by Nisci Tocugirò, Turin 1911, etc .; Bartolomeo Balbi taught Japanese in the Eastern Institute of Naples for some years; translated Human Bullets, from the novel by T. Sakurai; but it should be noted that, having ceased teaching in Naples, he published various novels which have only the title of Japanese. Currently in Italy (1931) Japanese is taught only, with practical purposes, at the Royal Oriental Institute of Naples.