国際交流基金 The Japan Foundation Performing Arts Network Japan

Performing Arts Network Japan is a website produced by The Japan Foundation introducing Japan’s performing arts in all their rich diversity. Along with updates on the latest arts information and topics is open access to an invaluable archive of some 300 in-depth interviews of contemporary Japanese artists and international arts presenters, and to an extensive collection of about 250 synopses of contemporary Japanese theater works.

Vol. 149 Updated Aug. 12, 2021

Perfoming Arts in Japan 日本の舞台芸術

Artist Interview アーティストインタビュー

Nao Yoshigai

Dancing and filming pre-verbal
emotive impulses

Nao Yoshigai (b. 1987) is a choreographer, dancer and filmmaker. In this interview we ask her about her world in which physical expression and filming are inseparable, as we see in her films such as Hottamaru days (2015), in which dancer nymphs living in an old wooden house give physical expression to its this-and-that, and her short film Grand Banquet (2018. Invited work for the 72nd Cannes Film Festival Director’s Fortnight for short films) in which a young woman disgorges flowers instead of words.


The Music of OKI’s World
Rooted in the Tonkori and the Unique Expression it Inspires

OKI is a musician active around the world, whose innovative music is based on the tonkori, a string instrument of the Karafuto Ainu people. This in-depth interview introduces the world of OKI, who is also active as a music producer and who blurs the boundaries of musical expression by interweaving music rooted around the world—including reggae, dub, R&B, jazz and world music—with Ainu traditional music.

Takuya Murakawa

Eyes that Focus Like a Camera on its Subject
The Vision of Takuya Murakawa

Takuya Murakawa is an emerging director and film artist working from his base in Kyoto. With a clear influence coming from the documentary films he studied while doing theater as a college student, Murakawa has developed a unique style of theater, creating works as if focusing a camera on his subject, or with a working method similar to editing film footage. Although his work is sometimes categorized within the genre of documentary theater often introduced in Japan in the 2010s, Murakawa’s interest actually lies in a different direction. In this interview, we look at his representative works and hear his thoughts about the fundamental questions he brings to his theater-making.

International Presenter 世界のプレゼンター

Presenter Interview プレゼンターインタビュー

Jayachandran Palazhy

Attakkalari Centre’s Aims
As a Base for Contemporary Dance in India

In India, where the presence of traditional dance is so strong, the Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts in the Bangalor state in southern India has stood as a pioneering gateway to the field of contemporary dance. The founder of this Centre and its artistic director is Jayachandran Palazhy. In this interview he speaks about how the Centre has built a network with overseas organizations, launched the Attakkalari India Biennale, while also directing efforts to creation through artist-in-residence opportunities and a broad range of other programs.


With コロナ の視点
With Corona” Perspective
Akane Nakamura (producer) Interview

As producer of the private sector production company precog Co., Ltd., Akane Nakamura (born, 1979) works with such artists as Toshiki Okada (chelfitsch), Yudai Kamisato, Mikuni Yanaihara (Nibroll), Teppei Kaneuji and Norimizu Ameya on productions in the fields of theater, dance, fine arts, literary arts and interdisciplinary works, while constantly seeking contemporary relevance and developing the potential of artistic expression. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the challenge for the company to seek new forms of online presentation of works and the establishment of the Theatre for All platform (Approved by Agency for Cultural Affairs) focusing on audience that preciously found theaters difficult to access. In this interview Nakamura talks about her beginnings in production and on to her latest projects for presenting the arts.

Tatsuki Hayashi

With コロナの視点
Tatsuki Hayashi (Dramaturg) Interview
The “With Corona” Perspective

Tatsuki Hayashi (b. 1982) has been employed by the Mousonturm (Künstlerhaus Mousonturm) theater in Frankfurt, Germany since 2019 as a project curator (dramaturg). In this interview he discusses the German performing arts scene under the COVID pandemic. Also, as a dramaturg who has worked on projects with Akira Takayama, with Takuya Murakawa in his involvement with the Rohm Theatre Kyoto project, as well as initiating an approach to Yuji Kinoshita, Hayashi gives us insights into his view of the dramaturg as “process-maker.”

New Plays 日本の新作戯曲

バナナの花は食べられる 山本卓卓 Banana no hana wa taberareru
(You Can Eat Banana Flowers)
Suguru Yamamoto

This play premiered in 2021 as a production by theater company Hanchu-Yuei led by playwright and director Suguru Yamamoto. Due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the tetralogy Banana no hana (Banana Flowers) was released in advance in 2020 as online plays. After that, this work premiered as a stage production recorded by six cameras and distributed online as a video work. It tells the story of two men, a dating app user and a fake buyer who dresses as a woman to lure customers into a store. They hit it off well and decide to open a private detective business.

コンとロール 細川洋平 Control Yohei Hosokawa

This play premiered in the opening performances in 2021 of the solo theater company Horobite founded by its leader, playwright and director, Yohei Hosokawa, who is also active as an actor. This work tells the story of man who comes into possession of a game control that is capable of controlling people as well. Using it, he begins to control people around him with fear and violence….

罪と愛 小田尚稔 Sin and Love Naotoshi Oda

This play was a Finalist in the 65th Kishida Prize for Drama. Naotoshi Oda (born 1986) is known for his works that largely reference philosophical and intellectual literature, and this Finalist work takes Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment as a reference point to create a personal short story-like play about men living in poverty. The protagonists are four Man who appear to represent Oda himself. Taking a core image of Man writing stage scripts, the story presents shifting fragmented images from the solitary daily lives of the four Man.

Arts Organizations 世界の支援団体

フリーミューズ Freemuse Freemuse

Freemuse is an independent international non-governmental organization (NGO) advocating for freedom of artistic expression and cultural diversity. The organization’s headquarters are located in Copenhagen, Denmark. Founded in 1998 in the aftermath of the first World Conference on Music and Censorship (Copenhagen), Freemuse initially dealt primarily with the issue of censorship in the field of music. However, from 2011 it has expanded its activities to promote freedom of artistic expression and creativity across all art forms.

劇作家・作曲家協会(SACD) La Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques (SACD) La Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques (SACD)

The prolific 18th century French playwright Pierre Beaumarchais, whose oeuvre includes the dramas The Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro, was a central figure in the founding of SACD (Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers). The membership-based organization was established with the aim of the protection of writers’ and composers’ rights and interests. Today the SACD has expanded its scope to the fields of film, dance, circuses, among others, and has an approximate membership of 56,000 (as of 2019).

緊急事態舞台芸術ネットワーク Japan Performing Arts Solidarity Network Japan Performing Arts Solidarity Network

Japan Performing Arts Solidarity Network was set up in May 2020 to help provide support for the performing arts industry, as it began suffering enormous losses as a result of the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The network’s participating members in-clude about 200 organizations, which until now had little or no cooperative involvement with each other, such as public and private sector theaters, theater companies, production and ticket sales companies and stage art companies. Stepping forward to offer their experti-se as consultants and sponsors are some of Japan’s leading promotion companies, producers, performers and legal professionals.