Once upon a time, Japanese contemporary theater shared the limelight with youth-cultural movements that were rocking the nation. Back then, in the late 1960s and ’70s, the avant-garde works of the angura (underground) theater scene had such an affinity with the radical student movement that they often made the headlines in newspapers.

“Many of us got prestigious prizes from the cultural mainstream, which is quite incredible to reflect on now,” recalls Makoto Sato, who, along with Shuji Terayama, Juro Kara and Tadashi Suzuki, was one of the main figures of the movement. “In fact, reports of our activities often appeared on the national news pages in papers, not just on the cultural pages.”

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