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IWASAKI Masahiro
Born: 1963
Function: stage director playwright
Company: Taiyozoku

Iwasaki is a leading figure of the Shogekijo scene in the Kansai region. He formed the Osaka Taiyozoku theater company in 1982 while a student in the Theatrical Arts Department of Osaka University of Arts. In 1990, he changed the troupe's name to 199Q Taiyozoku, known simply as Taiyozoku since 2001. He won the 1995 OMS Drama Award for his play Koko kara wa tooi kuni (A Country Far from Here), about the Aum Shinrikyo cult's sarin gas attack on Tokyo's subway system that shocked the nation. He is known for his plays based on incidents and phenomena occurring in contemporary society that depict the feeling of being trapped and the complex relationships between people. Moving between fantasy and reality, time and space, his extraordinary, and distinctive style of direction has earned him many fans. He also runs workshops for high school students on writing and directing and presents plays together with local residents at community halls throughout the country, including the Kitakyushu Performing Arts Center and the Nagasaki Brick Hall, among others. He was appointed director of the Ai Hall (Itami Municipal Drama Hall) in 2008.

Koko kara wa tooi kuni (A Country Far from Here)
Yoshimasa joined a religious cult in search of an ideal, but is now facing up to the fact that the ideal did not materialize. He has run away from the cult and sleeps in a truck in the garage at his family home. Still, his father has not yet given up hope on his taking over the family business and so whenever the two meet, they clash. His sisters worry about the bad feelings between the two. A member of the security police turns up to investigate members of the cult who launched a terrorist attack. Yoshimasa has nowhere to escape to and continues to agonize over his life, as real events increasingly become mixed up with his own reminiscences and wild imaginings.

First staged: 1996
Acts/scenes: 1 act
Cast: 11 (5 male, 6 female)
First staged by: 199Q Taiyozoku
[Translation] English: available from Taiyozoku

Ekkyo suru katatsumuri (The Snail That Crossed the Border)
It is 2027 and, following a national referendum, the Self Defense Force has been renamed the Self Defense Army and has joined American troops dispatched to the Korean Peninsula. Meanwhile, in Osaka, a Korean family running a small café called Hakutosan, harbors various expectations that become increasingly tangled: one daughter is pregnant by her home tutor who believes in the status quo; a younger sister is engaged to a policeman; the present head of the family, older brother Jongchol, talks about the pent-up feelings of Korean residents in Japan. This intrigue-filled family drama thus develops into a microcosm of the larger political situation in Japan.

First staged: 2007
Acts/scenes: 1 act, 6 scenes
Cast: 13 (5 male, 8 female)
First staged by: Taiyozoku