Globe-trotting dramatist seeks new horizons

| Jun 5, 2011

Globe-trotting dramatist seeks new horizons

Fifty-three years ago, Amon Miyamoto was born into a world in which he grew up listening to spirited exchanges between leading lights from the stage and showbiz in his father’s coffee shop across from the modern-leaning Shinbashi Enbujo outpost of the venerable Kabuki-za theater ...

'Bedge Pardon' rethinks famed Soseki sojourn

Jun 3, 2011

'Bedge Pardon' rethinks famed Soseki sojourn

“Bedge pardon?” Was a phrase that literary giant Natsume Soseki (1867-1916) scribbled into his diary while studying in London. He was describing how it sounded when a servant woman said “I beg your pardon” to him. But far from mocking the woman he nicknamed ...

Inspired by the West and re-made in Japan

May 12, 2011

Inspired by the West and re-made in Japan

Staging famous Western works, or those from well-known foreign playwrights, is an established feature of contemporary theater in Japan, with Japanese dramatists often adapting or reworking plays so they resonate more with domestic audiences. One such accomplished adaptation currently running in Tokyo is “Minatomachi ...

Is everyone in the world still patiently 'Waiting for Godot'?

Apr 22, 2011

Is everyone in the world still patiently 'Waiting for Godot'?

“Waiting for Godot” is a masterfully minimalist play that allegorically expresses how we all strive to keep at bay the sense of life’s ultimate futility. After all, there is only one certainty in our lives: our death. Often regarded as the seminal work of ...

Mar 25, 2011

The funny side of hiding in the attic

In 2003, the Tokyo-based theater company Rinkogun received a number of awards for its play “Ura-Yaneura” (“Attic”). Now the play is back in a compelling new form — staged in a mish-mash of languages using the company’s actors and others from Indonesia and South ...

Kitamura shows Japanese women how to be 'Top Girls'

Mar 24, 2011

Kitamura shows Japanese women how to be 'Top Girls'

“The play was written nearly 30 years ago, but I feel the situation for women has hardly changed at all. In fact, it hasn’t fundamentally changed for 100 years, even though Japanese women got the vote around 65 years ago,” said theater producer Akiko ...

Playwright Noda asks, 'What is a Japanese?'

Feb 11, 2011

Playwright Noda asks, 'What is a Japanese?'

In the early 1980s, when he was a student at the University of Tokyo, Hideki Noda began to emerge as a standard bearer of something new in Japan: Contemporary theater by — and for — young people seeking to change their country. To drop ...

Universal meanings of a poet's personal grief

Jan 21, 2011

Universal meanings of a poet's personal grief

Apart from glitzy musicals and kabuki, most theatrical stagings in Japan finish their run after a couple of weeks or even a few days. With no long-run system as the norm, unlike Broadway or the West End, by the time a buzz has got ...