The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Mar. 28, 2018
Japan Topics
24th OMS Prize awarded to Akira Yamazaki for Melo-Melo Tachi
The final jury session for the “24th OMS Drama Award,” open to playwrights active in the Kansai region of Japan and hosted by Osaka Gas, was held on Dec. 19, 2017 at Osaka Gas Head Office, where Melo-Melo Tachi (Melo-Melo Band) by Akira Yamazaki of the warui-shibai theater company was chosen as Grand Prix winner from among 53 applications. The honorable mention award was given to Kotaro Uematsu’s Gozen 3-ji 59-fun (3:59 AM).
Akira Yamazaki was born in 1982. He is a graduate of the College of Social Sciences at Ritsumeikan University. In 2004 he founded “warui-shibai,” a theater company based in Kyoto, and has since been active as playwright, director and actor. He received an honorable mention award for his Uso Tsuki, Goukyuu at the 17th OMS Drama Awards, and for Dada no Katamari desu (Lump of Failures), he was both nominated as a finalist for the 56th Kishida Kunio Drama Award and awarded the Outstanding Drama prize for the 2011 Satoh Sakichi Awards.
The play is set in a near-future Japan in which a civil war has broken out, where a legendary rock band is portrayed. The play was performed in Osaka and Tokyo in July 2016 with all-original music performed by a live band.
A book containing information about the winning works, the jury comments and the selection process will be published in March 2018. Information about the nine finalist works can be seen on the official website.
+Nominated Finalist Works (in Japanese alphabetical order)
Makoto Ueda Kite Ketsukarubeki Sekai (This New World that Had to Come)
Kotaro Uematsu Gozen 3-ji 59-fun (3:59 AM)
Shoko Okabe Koko mo Dareka no Tabisaki (This Is Also a Destination)
Yu Tanaka Watashi to Honya no Uso (The Lie of the Bookstore and I)
Miyuki Tanase Koreppochi no. (This Little Bit)
Tsuyoshi Tanabe Binetsu Garden (Garden of Low-grade Fever)
Shintaro Murakami   Hai-a-girl (Climb! Girl!)
Akira Yamazaki Melo-Melo Tachi (Melo-Melo Band)
Man Ikuta, Makoto Satoh, Toshiro Suzue, Yumi Suzuki, Eri Watanabe
+OMS Drama Prize Office / Osaka Gas Business Create Co., Ltd. (Japanese)

The 62nd (2018) Kishida Drama Award winners are Yudai Kamisato and Mitsunori Fukuhara
The final judging of the 62nd Kishida Drama Awards organized by Hakusuisha Publishing Co. took place on February 16th and two winning dramas were chosen, Valparaiso no Nagai Saka wo Kudaru Hanashi (A story about descending the long hill of Valparaiso) by Yudai Kamisato (Okazaki Geijutsu-za) and Atarashii Explosion (New explosion) by Mitsunori Fukuhara (Pichichi 5, Bed & Makings).
Yudai Kamisato was born in Lima, Peru in 1982. In 2003, while a student at Waseda University, he formed the theater unit Okazaki Geijutsu-za and has directed his own plays with it since. In recent years, as an extension of his interest in his own identity, Kamisato has created works that reflect his concern about the problems of immigrants and laborers, the relationship between the individual and the nationality, communication with one's contemporaries and other issues. This is his first Kishida Drama Award following three previous nominations. This play is based on experiences Kamisato had while in Buenos Aires, Argentina on a 1-year Agency for Cultural Affairs' Emerging Artist Overseas Research Program grant in 2016, and it premiered at the Kyoto Experiment festival on November 2017. It was performed in Spanish by Argentine actors. Kishida Drama Award jury member Akio Miyazawa commented: "The scale of the world it speaks of and its position are fascinating. It is Patagonia, and Okinawa, and Chichijima Island. It is possible to grasp the nature of lands that are remote from the main centers. The attitude that questions theater is in itself a strong response to theater."
Mitsunori Fukuhara was born in Kanagawa Prefecture in 1975. He graduated from the Arts Department of Tokyo Polytechnic University with a major in film. In 2002, Fukuhara established the company Pichichi 5 and has served as its leader, playwright and director. He has also established a number of other theater units such as Nippon no Kasen and Bed & Makings and has engaged in a wide range activities. This is his first Kishida Drama Award following two previous nominations. This play premiered as a Bed & Makings production in March of 2017. It is a fictional story about the scandal surrounding the first kiss scene in Japanese film history that actually appeared in the Shochiku movie Hatachi no Seishun (Youth, aged 20) that premiered in May of 1946, nine months after Japan's defeat in WWII, and it appeared as the maiden performance of the Asakusa Kyugeki theater. About the play, Kishida Drama Award jury member Hideki Noda commented: "In this age, it is hard to write about things that aren't gravely serious. In this context, Fukuhara is not gravely serious, but he never writes works that make us feel embarrassed about that fact. This is because of the overwhelming skillfulness of the lines he writes for the actors in his scripts. That skill is always encouraging to find for those of us who write."
+Finalists (In Japanese alphabetical order)
Yukinosuke Itoi's Shunkan Konen (stage script)
Yudai Kamisato's Valparaiso no Nagai Saka wo Kudaru Hanashi (stage script)
SaringROCK's Shonen wa Niwatori to Yume wo Miru (stage script)
Kaori Nishio's Yobu Yondeiru yo (first printed in the 1st edition of Shihai, May 2017)
Mitsunori Fukuhara's Atarashii Explosion (stage script)
Shoko Matsumura's Koshiraeru (stage script)
Yuri Yamada's Fiction City (stage script)
Suguru Yamagmoto's Sonoyo to Tomodachi (stage script)
Ryo Iwamatsu, Toshiki Okada, Keralino Sandorovich, Hideki Noda, Oriza Hirata, Akio Miyazawa
+Kishida Kunio Drama Award (Website in Japanese)

Ryo Iwamatsu’s Usui Momoiro no Katamari wins the 21st Tsuruya Namboku Memorial Drama Award
 Sponsored by the Kobun Foundation, the Tsuruya Namboku Memorial Award is a yearly drama award for new plays staged in Japanese that year. For the 21st Tsuruya Namboku Memorial Award, seven active theater journalists formed a selection committee, gathering on Dec. 14, 2017 to nominate five works during their first round of selections. Of these, Ryo Iwamatsu’s Usui Momoiro no Katamari (Pale peach-colored bundle) was chosen as the winner at the selection committee meeting held Jan. 23, 2018. The prize is 2 million yen.
Born in 1952, Ryo Iwamatsu is from Nagasaki Prefecture. His talents as a playwright and a director began to manifest themselves in the late 1980s, and in 1989 he won the Kishida Prize for Drama for Futon to Daruma (Dharma and the futon). He went on to win Individual Prize of the Kinokuniya Drama Award for Kowareyuku Otoko (A breaking-down man) and Hato wo Kau Shimai (Sisters keeping pigeons) in 1993 and the Yomiuri Prize for Literature for TV Days in 1998. His winning play this time was written for the 7th production of the Saitama Gold Theater, a company for the elderly founded by Yukio Ninagawa. Ninagawa passed away on May 12, 2016. The play depicts people living in an evacuated area due to nuclear fallout from the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. It is an area inhabited by wild Japanese boars, the animal which is almost an embodiment of nature and of the primitive. The play was staged at the Sai-no-kuni Saitama Arts Theater in Saitama Pref. between September and October of 2017 with Iwamatsu as director.
+Nominated works (in performance order)
Kuishinbo Banzai! – Masaoka Shiki Seishun Kyoshikyoku (Hail to hearty eaters! – Rhapsody of the young poet Masaoka Shiki) by Karou Setoguchi 60’s Elegy by Ken Furukawa
Anne no Hi (The Day of Anne) by Roma Shimori
Usui Momoiro no Katamari (Pale peach-colored bundle) by Ryo Iwamatsu
Hato ni Mizu wo Yaru (Water for the pigeons) by Seiji Nozoe
Selection Committee: Hiroko Yamaguchi (Asahi Newspaper), Masako Nakamura (Jiji Press), Naoyuki Hayashi (Nikkan Sports), Yoichi Uchida (Nikkei Newspaper), Sayumi Uchino (Hochi Newspaper), Shoko Kodama (Mainichi Newspaper), Norifumi Yamauchi (Yomiuri Newspaper)
+Tsuruya Namboku Memorial Award

Yokohama Dance Collection 2018 competition choreography award winners chosen
Yokohama Dance Collection 2018 is the annual contemporary dance festival organized for the purpose of nurturing young choreographers and popularizing contemporary dance. The final competition was held this year from February 8 to 11 and the winners were announced on the final day.
In Competition I (Dance Composition Division) the Jury Prize grand prix went to the 2016 Seoul Dance Festival Choreography Prize winner Choi Minsun & Kang Jinan for the piece Complement. In Competition II (New Choreographer Division) the Outstanding New Artist Prize was awarded to Yurino Nagano for Maguro (Tuna).
Also, this year a new Best Dancer Prize was added to the awards and a partnership M-1 Contact Festival Prize (Singapore) was also added. The winners are shown below. For details visit the Yokohama Dance Collection website.
+Competition I (Dance Composition Division)
•Jury Prize: Choi Minsun & Kang Jinan, Complement
•French Embassy Prize for Young Choreographers / Sibiu International Theater Festival Prize: Koichiro Tamura, F/BRIDGE
•Encouragement Prize: Lee Kyung-Gu, A broom stuck in a corner
•Best Dancer Prize: Wataru Kitao, 2020
•MASDANZA Prize: Kim Seo Youn, Selfish Answer
•M-1 Contact Festival Prize: Kenji Shinohe, K(-A-)O
(Applicants: 106 groups/individuals from 9 countries / Finalists: 10 groups from 3 countries performed works up to 20 minutes)
+Competition II (New Choreographer Division)
•Outstanding New Artist Prize: Yurino Nagano, Maguro (Tuna)
•Encouragement Prize: Mizuki Taka, Hitogoto
•Best Dancer Prize: Rina Kobayashi, Suppon (Mud turtle)
•Touch Point Arts Foundation Prize: Seina Imaeda, Jibun no Me wo Nametai, to Omotta koto Arimasuka (Have you ever thought you want to lick your eyes?)
(Applicants: 31 groups/individuals / Finalists: 12 groups/individuals performed works of up to 10 minutes)
+Yokohama Dance Collection
Presenter Topics
Opening of one of Austria’s leading comprehensive arts festivals “Wiener Festwochen” (May 11 – June 18, 2018)
The Wiener Festwochen (Vienna Festival Weeks) is held annually in May and June over the course of five weeks in the Austrian capital of Vienna. The stated mission of the festival is to select works of music, visual art and performing arts that hold a strong relevance to contemporary society, whilst adhering to the highest aesthetic standards. Tomas Zierhofer-Kin, who has taken over the directorship of the festival beginning last year, has offered the promise for a more accessible festival, stating, “My goal is to present not just art that attacks the local bourgeois, but art that extends a helping hand to many.”
This year the festival will feature 30 works, under the theme “Fragile Democracy,” focusing on works that contemplate such darker emotions as “anxiety” and “fear” as can be felt across the world today, as well as the impacts that they may have on individuals and on society. Larger featured productions include Tiefer Schweitzer: A Holding Center, a work of music theater by Christoph Marthaler in which government officials carry out a “Kafka-esque” debate about an island on a lake that is being overrun by refugees, as well as a theater version of The Virgin Suicides, adapted into film by Sophia Coppola approximately 20 years ago, by Suzan Kennedy, associate artist at the renewed Volksbühne in Berlin. Also to be featured is an exploration of social psychology created through a collaboration with 15 youths titled Crowd, by choreographer Gisèle Vienne, who has also presented works frequently in Japan.
In their work Kamp, the Hotel Modern Theater Company of Rotterdam creates a miniature of the Auschwitz concentration camp on stage. The work is contemplative in nature, with three performers using miniature figures on stage as they attempt to determine the causes of one of the world’s greatest atrocities, while simultaneously filming the figure-acting. Markus Öhrn will present the world premier of his work Domestic Violence Vienna, based on the “Fritzl case,” in which Austrian Elisabeth Fritzl was confined to her father’s home and sexually abused by him for 24 years. Jean Michel Bruyère will be presenting his new work L’Habitude (Habit), inspired by the Black Panthers, integral players in the American Civil Rights movement. Finally from Asia, choreographer Ong Kensen, celebrated in his native Singapore, will present his collaborative work with actors of the National Theater Company of Korea in Trojan Women.

Festival Outline
This is an international festival held since 1951 each May and June in Vienna on the largest scale of any Austrian festival. The venues include the Museums Quartier, Theater an der Wien, Wiener Konzerthaus and the Schauspielhaus, as well as locations like markets and squares around the city, making virtually the entire city the festival’s stage. The programming features operas and performing arts from around the world with leading directors, conductors and orchestras providing the latest in performing arts, consisting of works in both classical styles and the newest productions, along with contemporary works in new staging. From Japan, artists including potudo-ru and Akira Takayama have participated in the past.
+Wiener Festwochen

Berlin’s “Theatertreffen” festival set to open (May 4 – 20, 2018)
Held each year in May, this festival focuses on exclusively on theater in the German-speaking world. A panel of approximately seven theater critics within the German-speaking world set out to choose “the ten best productions of the year” each year: selections are made from among works presented in the German-speaking countries of Austria, Switzerland and Germany between 66 and 14 weeks prior to the commencement of the festival. The reasons for selection are published later in the Theatertreffen festival magazine. Also, the panel’s critics send letters stating their reasons for selecting the works to their directors. This year, 33 works were nominated from a total of 409 performances given in 54 German-speaking cities, and after careful consideration 10 final selections were made.
Notable among the final selections are such large productions as The Silver Bullet, written by Elfriede Jelinek and directed by Falk Richter, contemplating 2000 years of human history and Donald Trump; Returning to Reims, directed Thomas Ostermeier; and a seven-hour long production of Faust, directed by Frank Castorf and starring Martin Wuttke.
Other featured productions include Woyzeck, directed by Ulrich Rasches and performed by the Basel Theater; The Odyssey by young German director Antu Romero Nunez, of Portuguese and Chilean parentage, who began attracting attention while still a graduate student; and Anta Helena Recke, the only chosen female writer and also a person of color, who directed the work Middle Kingdom (production by the Munich Kammerspiele).

Festival Outline
This theater meeting is held every year in Berlin in May since 1963. From among the roughly 2,000 theater productions performed each year in the German-speaking countries of Austria, Switzerland and Germany, a jury of freelance theater critics select ten outstanding works to be invited to this festival, which has gained a reputation as a proving ground for young theater makers. During the festival period, the organizers of the Theatertreffen, the Berliner Festspiele, cooperates with the Head Office of the Munich Goethe Institute and Switzerland’s Arts Council Pro Helvetia to organize two weeks of workshops known as the International Forum. This forum is attended by theater-makers under the age of 35, not only from the German-speaking countries but also from other countries around the world. With introductions of scripts and discussions, the forum serves as a platform for young theater people. In addition to the introduction of scripts, it also functions to present two weeks of workshops.

South Australia’s largest arts festival, the Adelaide Festival (Mar. 2 – 18, 2018)
Founded in 1960, the Adelaide Festival is a large-scale comprehensive arts festival. Its two-and-a-half week program features a wide variety of arts, from theater, music, dance, literature and visual arts to works for children and more. Originally a biennale, the festival has been held annually since 2012. The artistic director until last year was the founder of London’s alternative music festival Meltdown, David Sefton. From 2017, welcomed the former co-directors of Sydney’s Belvoir St. Theatre, Neil Armfield AO and Rachel Healy as artistic directors.
Among this year’s large theatre productions are: Kings of War, a conflation of five plays by Shakespeare (Henry V, Henry VI Part I, II and III, and Richard III) directed by Ivo Van Hove; The Far Side of the Moon, written and directed by Robert Lepage; and the opera production of Hamlet composed by Brett Dean that premiered to high acclaim at the Glyndebourne Festival Opera.
On the dance program are: Akram Khan’s new work XENOS, which he has announced will be his final performances as a dancer in a full-length piece; the piece FLA.CO.MEN performed by the Israel GALVÁN, a famed maverick of the genre; and Bennelong, a work by Bangarra Dance Theatre that explores the life of one of our history’s most significant Aboriginal elders.
During this year’s festival a special program titled Adelaide Writers’ Week will introduce that gathers novelists and writers from around the world to talk on a wide range of subjects.

Festival Outline
Believing in the potential for an arts festival in Adelaide through his involvement in the South Australia national theatre movement, journalist Sir Lloyd Dumas and Adelaide University music professor John Bishop enlisted the support of influential citizens to launch the festival in 1960 with a program of 105 performances (74 for adults and 31 for children) over the course of half a month. Held biennially on even numbered years, the Adelaide Festival and its concurrent Adelaide Fringe Festival grew to become one of Australia’s leading international arts festival events along with those in Sydney and Melbourne. Invited participants from Japan include Daisan Erotica with A Man Named Macbeth in 1994 and Yukichi Matsumoto with Mizumachi in 2000. The festival has been held annually since 2012.
+Adelaide Festival

46th Hong Kong Arts Festival opens (Feb. 23 – Mar. 24, 2018)
Hong Kong Arts Festival, an international performing arts festival that has continued to present works of some of the biggest arts companies of the East and West and many big-name artists since its first holding in 1973, will be held again this year on a large scale in venues around the city. For the past ten years, the festival’s executive director is Tisa Ho, who is also active in management of Singapore’s Esplanade, marketing and curatorial responsibilities for the Singapore Arts Festival.
This year’s festival adopts the notion of “What’s real to me” as a theme and programed with many works are informed by a highly personal view of reality, which the organizers hope will provoke viewers to think about, and perhaps to questioning their own understanding of what’s real. In the rapidly changing political, economic and cultural aspects of today’s world, where it is increasingly hard to say where reality is headed, are no easy answers to this question, but the festival seeks to pose it in the context of artistic communication.
There are an especially large number of dance works on this year’s program, including the American Ballet Theatre’s new work Whipped Cream choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky; Ballett Zürich’s production Anna Karenina with choreography by Christian Spuck; and invited from Japan is Saburo Teshigawara with his work Tristan and Isolde.
Among the works on the theatre program, Montreal’s contemporary circus company The 7 Fingers presents “Bosch Dreams,” a work that seeks to bring to the stage a world inspired by the surrealistic paintings of Hieronymus Bosch, and from the U.S. the off-off Broadway company Nature Theater of Oklahoma presents Pursuit of Happiness.

Festival Outline
One of the largest-scale performing arts festivals in Asia, the Hong Kong Arts Festival is annually held for about one month from February, after Chinese New Year. In 1972, the Hong Kong Arts Festival Society Ltd. was established by a gathering of prominent figures in Hong Kong society, and since the festival’s first edition held in 1973, it has been introducing excellent performing arts works from China and around the world for more than 30 years. It has been managed with support mainly from the Leisure and Cultural Services Department of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China and the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust.
The programs include performances of a wide range of arts productions from Asia and around the world, including opera, music, jazz, world music, theater, musicals, dance, exhibitions and more are held. The festival also offers full programs of workshops for young people and educational programs.
In the field of contemporary dance, the festival has begun a “Asia-Pacific Dance Platform” to present the works of young choreographers and dance artists active in Asia. With the aim of growing the audience for contemporary dance in Hong Kong, a concurrent program of workshops and discussions is also held. Furthermore, a new platform for crossover experimental works named the “New Stage Series” has also been newly established.
+ Hong Kong Arts Festival