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Born: 1961
Function: stage director playwright

Born in Miyazaki Prefecture, Nakashima moved to Tokyo and went through several jobs before establishing the "Extravagantly Crazy" Honky Tonk Theater company in 1981 at the age of twenty. As the troupe's writer, director, and actor, he presented many nonsense comedies portraying the real lives of ordinary people. Since the Honky Tonk Theater disbanded in 1994, Nakashima has worked freelance. In 1996, he became the resident writer and director for the all-female Heartland theater company, and in 1997 he cofounded the Dogaku Sensei theater company, serving as their resident writer until 2004. He is known for his comedies about the warm-hearted good old days, such as Zabu zabu hatoba (The Buzzing Waterfront) in which he vividly describes the daily lives of the slapdash fishermen in a setting reminiscent of his hometown port of Nichinan in Miyazaki Prefecture, and Ekisupo (Expo), about the tumultuous funeral following the sudden death of a woman who ran an inn popular with lovers. As well as producing a wide range of comedies for both Shogekijo and commercial theaters, Nakashima is also a popular scriptwriter for TV and radio.

Burai no nyobo (A Decadent Wife)
This play is set in postwar 1950s Japan. Author Tsukaguchi Keigo has still not gotten over the wartime defeat, and is a troublesome fellow in the habit of jumping out of the second floor window high on drugs and alcohol. Luckily his wife Yasuyo is by nature easy-going and sticks by her man despite his faults. After the younger sister of Keigo’s ex-girlfriend turns up and begs him not to write a novel about her sister, however, he begins to change. Based on the lives of the Buraiha school author Sakaguchi Ango (1906-55) and his wife, the focus of this tremendous play is not so much humor as the toils of a writer and the affectionate love the couple has for each other.

First staged: 2002
Acts/scenes: 1 act, 6 scenes
Cast: 13 (10 male, 3 female)
First staged by: Dogaku Sensei

Photo: Iida Kenki
Yureru kuruma no oto—Kyushu tekiya tabi nikki (Sound of a Shaking Car: Travel Diary of a Street Seller in Kyushu)
Set in Miyazaki Prefecture in the late sixties, this human comedy traces two days as street vendor Kanamaru Shigezo returns with his family to his hometown and reestablishes bonds with the local Uehara gang with whom he had parted on bad terms twenty years earlier. For all their lighthearted banter the characters still feel chagrin and remorse for the war that disrupted their lives, and their anguish at their own inability to get on in the world is depicted through a mix of humor and pathos. Effective use of live performances of songs popular at the time and the spirited patter of the street vendors adds to the portrayal of an era in which the poverty-stricken people harbored dreams of a bright future. Nominated for the 2006 Kishida Drama Award.

First staged: 2006
Acts/scenes: 1 act, 5 scenes
Cast: 11 (6 male, 5 female)
First staged by: Bungakuza