Playwright Kinoshita of ‘Yuzuru’ fame dead at 92

Kyodo News

Leading playwright Junji Kinoshita, known for writing “Yuzuru” (“Twilight Crane”), died of pneumonia on Oct. 30, the troupe Mingei Theatre Company said Thursday. He was 92.

Kinoshita, born in Tokyo in 1914, died at a Tokyo hospital. Aside from “Yuzuru,” which he wrote in 1949, his numerous works include “Otto to Yobareru Nihonjin” (“A Japanese called Otto”), written in 1962, and “Shigosen no Matsuri” (“The Dirge of the Meridian”), penned in 1978.

“Yuzuru,” his masterwork featuring folklore, is considered one of Japan’s representative theatrical plays. The late actress Yasue Yamamoto played the heroine Tsu more than 1,000 times on stage from 1949 to 1984.

His works are based on Japanese folklore and he was influenced by both modern and historical dramas. He was very influential in the postwar theater world, particularly in the genre of Shingeki, and spoke on peace issues.

After spending his youth in Kumamoto, he returned to Tokyo and studied English literature at the University of Tokyo, majoring in Elizabethan theatrical history and Shakespeare.