Tien Han

T’ien Han


Born Mar. 12, 1898, near Ch’angsha, Hunan Province. Chinese playwright.

The son of a peasant, T’ien Han studied in Japan. He took part in the movement advocating a new type of drama based on dialogue, as contrasted to the musical drama of the traditional Chinese theater. His first plays, Night in Kaffa (1920), The Night of the Tiger Catch (1921), and Return to the South (1929), attacked feudal oppression and the traditional system of marriage and the family. The drama The Death of a Famous Actor (1930) dealt with intellectuals in old China, The Death of Ku Cheng-hung (1931) was one of the first plays about the Chinese proletariat, and The Deluge (1936) was devoted to the countryside. The Japanese aggression against China (1931) was reflected in the play Lukou Ch’iao (1937); at this time T’ien Han also directed a frontline theater company.

T’ien Han’s drama Kuan Hanch’ing (1958; Russian translation, 1959) is about the great Chinese playwright of the 13th century. The “March of Volunteers” (1935) became the national anthem of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. T’ien Han has also translated works by Shakespeare into Chinese. From 1949 to 1966 he was chairman of the Union of Theatrical Workers of the People’s Republic of China. In 1966 he was subjected to repression.


Tien Han chü tso hsüan. Peking, 1955.


Nikol’skaia, L. A. “Dramaturgiia Tian’ Khania (30-e gody).” In the anthology Teoreticheskie problemy izucheniia literatur Dal’nego Vostoka. Moscow, 1974.
Nikol’skaia, L. A. “K probleme literaturnoi i ideino-politicheskoi bor’by v Kitae 60-kh godov.” Vestnik Moskovskogo universiteta: Vostokovedenie, 1975, no. 1.