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Born: 1962
Function: stage director playwright
Company: Rinkogun

Born in Okayama Prefecture, Sakate is leader of the theater company Rinkogun as well as chair of the Japan Playwrights Association, director of the Japan Directors Association, and director of the Japan branch of the International Theatre Institute. He founded Rinkogun in 1983 and has written and directed almost all of their productions since, and he also writes and directs for other organizations and has published a number of collections of critical essays and plays. For Sakate, theater is not just a means of individual expression but also a type of media, and through the theme of conflict between the self and the social collective, he explores politics, war, and religion from a journalistic perspective. He has also produced a series of works drawing on various genres as well as a series incorporating forms from No theater. He is active internationally, performing and collaborating with artists in other countries. He won the 35th Kishida Drama Award for Buresuresu 1990~gomi bukuro o kokyu suru yoru no monogatari (Breathless–Tokyo Garbage Bag), and has twice won the Yomiuri Theater Award for Best Director. Daruma-san ga koronda (DA-RU-MA-SA-N-GA-KO-RO-N-DA), the subject of which is landmines, won the Tsuruya Nanboku Drama Award and the Asahi Performing Arts Award. Yaneura (The Attic) won the Yomiuri Literature Prize and, having toured the United States in 2005, it is now due to tour Europe in 2008.

Photo: Ohara Shugyo
Yaneura (The Attic)
The play depicts parallel episodes featuring people who cocoon themselves in a packaged space called The Attic marketed through the Internet: one man is trying to learn why his younger brother committed suicide; a young girl has dropped out of school and is living at her own pace; the body of someone who died in an Attic is buried in a basement. These people who construct a barrier to protect themselves from the hurtful outside world and live motionless in a confined space provide an ambivalent metaphor for contemporary life that cannot be dismissed as simply constrictive.

First staged: 2002
Acts/scenes: 1 act, 23 scenes
Cast: 16 (11 male, 5 female; variable as necessary)
First staged by: Rinkogun
[Translations] English/Korean/French/Italian/German: available from Rinkogun

Photo: Ohara Shugyo
Daruma-san ga koronda (DA-RU-MA-SA-N-GA-KO-RO-N-DA)
In this play, whose title derives from the ten syllables of a children’s song, the pernicious man-made problem of landmines around the world is tackled through a medley of episodes: a Self Defense Force soldier whose weapon has been stolen wanders through a minefield; a yakuza collects mines to protect his boss’s home; a woman with a prosthetic leg dedicates her life to clearing landmines; poor villagers live surrounded by landmines; a man hallucinates seeing his elder brother blown up; police officers are made fools of by landmines buried in Central Park; a couple of arms dealers sell landmines; a worker who makes landmines at a factory and his family. Is it possible for these disparate people to meet and connect?

First staged: 2004
Acts/scenes: 1 act, 20 scenes
Cast: 20 (13 male, 7 female; variable as necessary)
First staged by: Rinkogun
[Translations] English/German: available from Rinkogun