Shuntaro Matsubara's first contact with live theater was in 2014, when he saw a production of German dramatist Bertolt Brecht's 1930 play "Fatzer" (aka "Downfall of the Egotist Johann Fatzer") at the Kyoto studio of renowned director Motoi Miura and his avant-garde Chiten company.

Only 26 years old at the time, and a little-known author of several novels, Matsubara was impressed enough to join a drama circle run by Miura and, before long, the pair began to develop a creative partnership together.

The first fruit of Matsubara's new inspiration arrived shortly after. In 2015, his debut work as a playwright — a piece titled "Michiyuki" ("Travel Scene") that alluded to the March 2011 disasters in northeastern Japan — unexpectedly won the coveted annual Aichi Arts Foundation Drama Award for new scripts that has been a springboard for many young playwrights' careers.