Playwright, pacifist Hisashi Inoue dies at 75

Kyodo News

Popular playwright Hisashi Inoue died of lung cancer Friday evening at his home in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, his family said Sunday. He was 75.

Inoue was also a pacifist and was known for his activities promoting peace as one of the nine founding members of the Article 9 Association.

After starting his career as a writer while he was a student at Sophia University in Tokyo, Inoue won numerous literary prizes, including the Naoki Award for his novel “Tegusari Shinju” (Handcuffed Double Suicide) in 1972, while launching his own theater company “Komatsuza” in 1984.

Based on his experiences of war, Inoue was an outspoken antiwar and antinuclear activist, and in 2004, he established the pro-constitutional group with other intellectuals, such as the Nobel Prize winner Kenzaburo Oe.

He was designated as a Person of Cultural Merit in 2004 and became a member of the Japan Art Academy in 2009. From 2003 to 2007, he served as the 14th president of the Japan P.E.N. Club.

His works include “Chichi to Kuraseba” (Living with Father), a play about a father and his daughter who experienced the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and “Kirikirijin” (The People of Kirikiri).

He also wrote the lyrics for several theme songs for TV animation programs, including Moomin.

After being diagnosed with lung cancer last October, he had been undergoing anticancer drug treatment. He returned home from hospital Friday morning and his condition took a sudden turn for the worse later in the day.