Focusing on the decade following the 1907 Spring Willow Society (Chunliu She) production of Uncle Tom's Cabin in Tokyo, this paper provides a brief introduction to the impact of Japanese shinpa, as well as that of Western theatre through shinpa, on the formation of early Chinese huaju (spoken drama), also known as xinju (new drama) or wenmingxi (civilized drama). After watching shinpa productions, some Chinese students in Tokyo started staging plays with the help of well-known shinpa actors such as Fujisawa Asajirō. Returning to Shanghai, they brought with them a set of Westernized theatrical conventions. A study of the wenmingxi repertoire reveals shinpa's influence in adaptations of both shinpa versions of European plays such as Tosca and original shinpa productions such as Hototogisu (Cuckoo). In addition, many original wenmingxi plays emulated either the social commentary style of early shinpa or domestic drama of late Meiji shinpa. In terms of acting, shinpa's influence is found in the styles of many wenmingxi stars and the use of female impersonators who followed shinpa onnagata.