The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Artist Database
Born: 1964
Function: stage director playwright
Company: The Gazira

Kaneshita was born in Hokkaido and established the theatrical production group The Gazira in 1987. He has written many journalistic-style works based on real-life crimes, accidents, and historical facts, with acute observations of the hidden aspects of society and human nature. Kaneshita won the 42nd Art Encouragement Prize for New Artists awarded by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology for Tatsuya—saiainaru mono no soba e (Tatsuya—To the Side of My Beloved), about the nineteen-year-old serial killer Nagayama Norio. His wartime play PW—Prison of War and Kanka (Ice Blossoms), which he wrote for the Bungakuza, earned him the 32nd Kinokuniya Drama Award for Personal Achievement and the 5th Yomiuri Drama Award for Best Director. Recent plays include Yabu no naka (In the Bushes), Shi no toge (Thorn of Death), Hikaru hito (Shining Person), Hikari goke (Luminous Moss), and Seruroido (Celluloid). Kaneshita is a guest associate professor at J. F. Oberlin (Obirin) University.

Photo: Koyama Syuji
Kanka (Ice Blossoms)
It is the winter of 1910. An Jungun, who assassinated the Japanese Prime Minister Ito Hirobumi, arrives at Lushun Prison in Port Arthur. Kusunoki, a former friend of the prison doctor Miyata, is appointed as interpreter. As An gradually warms to Kusunoki, he talks about a tapping sound that he hears in the prison, saying that when he hears that sound he no longer feels fear, and that he feels as though a divine presence is within him. Kusunoki, too, gradually begins to appreciate a side of An's mind that is noble. Eventually the day of An's execution is decided, and at their last meeting, An tells Kusunoki, "That sound is the sound of my mother's heartbeat that I heard in the womb."

First staged: 1997
Acts/scenes: 1 act
Cast: 11 (10 male, 1 female)
First staged by: Bungakuza
[Translation] English/Russian: available from Office Cottone

©Office Cottone
Ancontororu (Uncontrol)
Five years have passed since the Japan Airlines crash at Mt. Osutaka. The broadcast writer Serizawa Akio and his wife, who canceled their reservations on the doomed flight, feel guilty for having escaped death. Meanwhile Takamura Yasuko, whose husband took Akio's canceled seat, regrets having urged her husband to hurry home. She also feels an all-consuming hatred for Akio, whom she met by chance, for not taking the flight. Furthermore, as if to condemn his father for having survived, Akio's son was born after the crash with a disability. Akio's friend Aoto becomes involved, as implacable hatred and sadness lead inexorably to insanity.

First staged: 2003
Acts/scenes: 1 act
Cast: 4 (2 male, 2 female)
First staged by: The Gazira