The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Artist Database
Born: 1952
Function: stage director playwright actor

Born 1934 in Yamagata Prefecture, Inoue graduated from the French department of Tokyo's Sophia University and is now an author and playwright. In 1964 he co-wrote the script for NHK's hit TV puppet play series Hyokkori hyotanjima (Bottle Gourd Island). He made his theatrical debut in 1969 with Nihonjin no heso (The Navel of the Japanese). In 1972, he won the prestigious Naoki Prize for his novel Tegusari shinju (Handcuffed Double Suicide) written in the lively, witty style of Edo-period popular fiction. The same year he won the Kishida Drama Award and the Art Encouragement Prize for New Artists awarded by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology for his play Dogen no boken (The Adventures of Dogen). In 1984 he formed his own company, Komatsuza, which remains at the forefront of the arts world with works reveling in humor and language, revealing Inoue's extensive knowledge of and deep affection for the Japanese language. His works Tokyo saiban sanbu saku (The Tokyo Trials Trilogy) and Showa shomin sanbu saku (The Common People of Showa Trilogy) focus on the responsibility of war and Article 9 of Japan's constitution, which renounces military force. Some of his plays have been performed abroad to rave reviews including Kesho (Makeup), Yabuhara kengyo (Yabuhara, the Blind Master Minstrel), and Chichi to kuraseba (The Face of Jizo).

Photo: Hikiji Nobuhiko; M&O Plays Production
Aisu kurimu man (Ice Cream Man)
A driving lesson camp is held in a lodge in a mountainous region far from Tokyo. The men and women who have come from the capital to participate in the course form a lively group that gets caught up in youthful relationships that result in love affairs, jealousy, and even dropouts. What is youth? Is there any meaning to life? What should they do now? The playwright himself joined such a course to get his driving license, and this play on the cruelty of youth is based on his own experience of being together with other young people, each with a different personality, their minds filled with question marks.

First staged: 1992
Acts/scenes: 1 act, 4 scenes
Cast: 22 (15 male, 27 female)
First staged by: Tokyo Kandenchi

Photo: Miyauchi Katsu; Theatrical Group EN Production
Nishi e yuku onna (The Woman Who Goes West)
Iwamatsu Ryo wrote this play for the Origato Plastico production company run by director Keralino Sandorovich and actress Hirooka Yuriko, and it was staged at the same time under his own direction by Theatrical Group EN. Haru is a former spy, who now lives deep in the mountains with a young woman called Toki, and Suzuki, who ended up living there after losing his way. They are joined by Tajima who, captivated by Toki's innocent beauty, asks her to marry him. Haru's past and the relationship between the two women arouse waves of love and hate among them all, finally triggering an unexpected incident...

First staged: 2003
Acts/scenes: 1 act, 2 scenes
Cast: 8 (5 male, 3 female)
First staged by: Origato Plastico/Theatrical Group EN