The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Artist Database
Born: 1976
Function: stage director playwright
Company: KAKUTA

Kuwabara was born in Tokyo. She enrolled at the training institute affiliated with the Theatrical Group EN, but left without graduating. She started acting in 1994 at the age of eighteen, when she was cast in Tenkosei (New Kid in School) written and directed by Hirata Oriza. In 1996 she formed the KAKUTA theater company together with the scriptwriters Kanai Hiromi and Tamura Yuka, and became their leader and director in 1996. After Kanai left the company in 2001, Kuwabara took over all the scriptwriting and directing. KAKUTA stage various types of performance, including open-air performances and readings, aiming for contemporary and high-quality entertainment with elaborate plots and comprehensive scripts. They attracted much attention for their novel conceptualization and vitality when they rented out the Hanayashiki Amusement Park in Asakusa, making the entire park into a stage for six simultaneous storylines in an open-air performance entitled Moonlight Coaster. Amai oka (A Sweet Hill) was shortlisted for the 2007 Kishida Drama Award. As well as appearing on stage and screen as an actress, Kuwabara is also broadening her scope of activities writing dramas, adaptations of novels, and drama game scenarios for various companies.

Photo: Aikawa Hiroaki
Amai oka (A Sweet Hill)
When housewife Kanoko is dumped by her husband, she moves into a sandal factory on the top of a hill and gets to work. However, the women working there all have certain issues, either being homeless or with criminal records… In this ramshackle setting, Kanoko gets back on her feet through her involvement with various people over the course of spring, summer, fall, and winter. This story portraying women hoping for love, women who despise love, women for whom love has withered away, and also the cravings and revitalization of women seeking love, was shortlisted for the 2007 Kishida Drama Award.

First staged: 2007
Acts/scenes: 1 act 5 scenes
Cast: 14 (6 male, 8 female
First staged by: KAKUTA

Photo: Aikawa Hiroaki
Me o mite uso o tsuke (Look into My Eyes and Lie)
When Hide’s lover goes off with his friend, he becomes violent and ends up with nowhere to go. Another friend, Sumiyoshi, agrees to let him stay at his soba noodle restaurant, where he meets a beautiful woman. This “woman,” however, is Sumiyoshi’s elder brother Masamichi, who has a gender identity disorder. Hide is still hung up with love and hatred for his girlfriend, and Masamichi remains upbeat despite being ostracized by his family, but the pair grow close as they reveal their wounded selves. This is the story of a search for one’s real self and of rebirth, as they get to know others who come to the soba restaurant.

First staged: 2008
Acts/scenes: 1 act, 5 scenes
Cast: 16 (8 male, 8 female)
First staged by: KAKUTA