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Japanese Title: Inugami
English Title: The Dog God
Author: TERAYAMA, Shuji
Author's Profile: 1935-83. Born and raised in Aomori prefecture. Poet, playwright, scenarist, and cult figure, he attended Waseda University, where he wrote radio drama and verse drama. In 1959 he formed a verse drama group, The Birds, and wrote "Blood Sleeps Standing Up" on commission for the Four Seasons musical company.
He received the Kubota Mantaro Prize for the radio epic "The Dog God's Woman." He launched the Tenjo Sajiki Theatre Laboratory (1967-83) with YOKOO Tadanori, HIGASHI Yutaka, KUJO Hideko and others; and produced in quick succession "The Hunchback of Aomori" (1967), "The Crime of Debuko Oyama" (1967), and "La Marie Vison" (1968). He also opened an underground Tenjo Sajiki Theatre. Active internationally, he took his troupe to perform at numerous overseas art festivals, including the Frankfurt Experimenta 3 Festival. "The Dog God" was performed there in 1969.
Testing the boundaries of theatre, Terayama produced a thirty-hour street theatre piece called "Knock." His major plays during the 1970s and 1980s include "Directions to Servants" (1978), "Lemmings" (1979), and "A Hundred Years of Solitude" (1981). His major films include "Get Rid of Books and Hit the Town" (1971) and "A Pastoral Death" (1974). Besides stage plays, he wrote novels, poetry, and criticism as well as scripts for radio and TV. He received numerous awards both in and outside Japan.
First Performance:   1969
Performance time:  
Acts / Scenes: 4 scenes
Cast: 11 (5 men, 6 women) and others

An elderly woman poet appears and tells the tale of the demise of the master's family.

Mitsu, the last of that clan, has become part of the Inuta family through marriage. One day she goes to the mountains to collect plums, becomes lost, and returns the following day totally insane.

Nine months later, she bears a son, Tsukio. However, even before she had Tsukio, the villagers had whispered about her being of a family that was possessed by the dog god and that her children would likely be dogs. Tsukio is born under such circumstances.

When Tsukio turns 5, his mother commits suicide; when he becomes 7, his father disappears. He grows up with his grandmother, who adores him. The neighborhood kids, believing the superstition that those who play with someone possessed by the dog god will also be possessed, refuse to play with him. The teachers and judge look on him as the kind of sick child who draws pictures of flowers with hair growing on them or sews up the eyelids of puppies. Tsukio comes to think of himself as one that will always be the "it" in the game of hide-and-seek.

When Tsukio turns 17, an old dog comes and settles in their house. The villagers want to dispose of it as they think it ravages the fields and kills the cattle. Tsukio takes care of the dog in secret so that the villagers will not find it. Tsukio begins to dream of a young woman. In these dreams Tsukio becomes a dog that loves the woman. But she finds him revolting and calls him a cur. His grandmother, sensing his heart is captive to another, tries to bind him to her.
Regardless of his grandmother's fears, Tsukio welcomes a young and beautiful bride. He believes that through marriage, he will be freed of being the "it," and yet, fearful of attaining such overwhelming happiness, he wishes to hide away somewhere. If he disappears, maybe someone else will become the "it" and search for him.
The tale apparently comes to an end with the wedding of Tsukio and his beautiful bride. However the poet returns to deliver an epilogue: the following morning, the bride is found dead with her throat slit, and Tsukio is missing.