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CHONG Wishing
Born: 1957
Function: stage director playwright

Chong was born in Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture. He studied at Doshisha University and transferred to the Department of Arts at the Yokohama Movie and Broadcasting College (now the Japan Academy of Moving Images). After graduating, he worked for the film company Shochiku as an art assistant before joining the Black Tent Theater. He currently works freelance. As well as writing for theaters such as the Bungakuza and Opera Theater Konnyakuza, he also writes and directs melancholy yet comical works depicting the subtleties of life for Umi no Circus, the production group he set up in 1992. In 1993 he won the 38th Kishida Drama Award for Za Terayama (The Terayama). The same year he branched out into film, and his movie Tsuki wa docchi ni deteiru (All Under the Moon) won the prize for Best Screenplay in the Mainichi Film Competition and the Kinema Junpo Award for Best Screenplay. In 1993 he won several awards for his movie Ai o kou hito (Begging for Love), including the Japan Academy Prize for Best Screenplay, and the First Asia-Pacific Film Festival Award for Best Screenplay. He also won the 2001 National Arts Festival Grand Prize for his TV drama Boku wa ashita ju-hachi ni naru (I'll Be Eighteen Tomorrow, 2001/NHK), and published a collection of essays Andoreasu no boshi (Andreas's Hat) in 1995. In 2008, his Japan-South Korea joint production Yakiniku doragon (Yakiniku Dragon) will be staged in Tokyo and Seoul.

©Umi no Circus
Annin dofu no kokoro (Heart of Almond Jelly)
It is Christmas Eve. Sayoko, who has been running the chindon-ya troupe of street advertising musicians that she inherited from her father, and jobless Tatsuro, who has been acting as househusband, decide to separate since the house they have lived in for many years is due to be torn down. As the couple clown around and share jokes, the true reason for their separation becomes apparent, with all their pent-up feelings coming to the fore along with the truth. This was intended to be a one-off performance for the Christmas of 2000, but due to strong audience demand it has become part of Umi no Circus’s repertory performed every year.

First staged: 2002
Acts/scenes: 1 act
Cast: 2 (1 male, 1 female)
First staged by: Umi no Circus
[Translation] Korean: available from Lee Hejon, Seoul, Korea

Photo: Yakou Masahiko
Tatoeba no ni saku hana no yo ni (Like Wild Flowers in Bloom, For Example)
This work is an adaptation of the Greek tragedy Andromache set in Japan where the wounds of the Pacific War are still fresh. A year after the start of the Korean War, in a seedy dance hall the sound of an American warplane headed for Korea is heard. A Korean barmaid in the dance hall, Maki, cannot forget her fiancé who died in the war. Yasuo, his face scarred in the war, falls in love with Maki the moment he sets eyes upon her, and his furious fiancé Akane pesters an admirer, Naoya, to kill him. Thus a complicated and stormy four-way relationship among people living desperately in turbulent times is played out against the backdrop of war.

First staged: 2007
Acts/scenes: 6 acts
Cast: 10 (6 male, 4 female)
First staged by: New National Theatre, Tokyo