The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Ranbo to Taiki
Ranbo to Taiki (Apr. 2005/Shinjuku Theater Moliere, Tokyo)
First Performance: 2005
Performance time: 100 min.
Acts / Scenes: One act
Cast: 4 (2 men, 2 women)
Japanese Drama Database
Play of the Month Play of the Month
Rambo to Taiki   Yukiko Motoya 
The stage setting is the apartment of Hidenori Yamane and Nanase Ogawa.

Nanase is always trying to find jokes that will make Hidenori laugh, because he hasn’t laughed once in the six years they have been living together. But, for some reason, Hidenori ignores her efforts and always treats her in a bossy, overbearing way.

Hidenori often says he is going out jogging but in fact sneaks up into the space above the ceiling to spy down on Nanase. She is aware of what he is doing but, for some reason, she says nothing. When a younger colleague of Hidenori’s named Banjo comes to visit and we see Nanase going to exceptional lengths to try to please him.

In fact, we learn that this is a part of Nanase’s character. She is always worrying that something she might say or do will anger or cause a misunderstanding with the people around her. And that obsession often irritates the people she is with, and when it does she resorts to a subservient smile.

As for Banjo, he is immediately smitten by Nanase’s beauty and as a way to get closer to her he introduces her to his girlfriend Azusa as a potential partner for her comedy act. As Banjo uses Azusa in this way as an excuse to build a relationship with Nanase, he gradually becomes aware of the strange relationship between Hidenori and Nanase, who are living together even though they are neither lovers nor relatives.

It turns out that 12 years earlier the Yamane and Ogawa families, who were close friends, were driving together in the Yamane car when it got stopped in the middle of a railroad crossing and were hit by a train. The only survivors were Hidenori and Nanase, who happened to be sitting in the back seat. Hidenori still claims that the accident was the result of a word that Nanase said at the critical moment, but he can’t remember what the word was. Nonetheless, the two have been living together for the last six years because Hidenori is determined to reap on Nanase the worst revenge humankind has ever conceived, and Nanase is apparently waiting for that due revenge.

Still, there is no indication that the revenge is ever going to be wrought, and for no other reason than the fact that she cannot say “No,” Nanase eventually succumbs to the desires of Banjo. When Azusa becomes suspicious of her lover’s infidelity, takes a knife and says she is going to kill Nanase, Hidenori, who has been spying on them from the ceiling, burst through to stop her. Once his spying is revealed in this way, Nanase decides she must move out of the apartment. In response to Nanase, who says that she is truly sorry but because she is a woman she must leave, Hidenori replies, “I’m sorry, but I just don’t want to be involved in such a troublesome situation. I wish I could say that I don’t mind the bother, but I can’t.”

The next day, Hidenori is invited out to dinner by Banjo and Azusa. On the way to the restaurant he suddenly remembers the word of Nanase at the scene of the accident which he has been trying to recall all these years and with a big smile on his face he runs back to the apartment.

Confronting Nanase, Hidenori says that it was her one word “Back” that made them back up the car on the railroad track and caused the accident that killed their families. Hidenori tells her that this proves that the accident was all her fault, so she doesn’t have to move out of the apartment. She can stay now, he says, so that he can take his revenge on her. But Azusa reasons that if they had moved the car “Forward,” as Hidenori had said, they all would have been killed.

As Nanase pleads that, no, she is the one to blame, Hidenori tenses in defiance, saying to Azusa, “Are you saying that it was my fault?” Then, suddenly he says to Nanase, “I’m going to make you regret this for the rest of your life!” and runs outside. Azusa runs after him but soon returns to report that Hidenori ran in front of a car and was killed.

The lights on the stage go out for a moment, and when they come back on we see Hidenori who has survived but at the cost of losing his fingers on both hand. To Nanase he says, “My real dream was to become a painter. Now I can’t and it’s all your fault.” The two laugh lightly and the curtain falls.

Profile: Born: 1979
Born in Ishikawa Prefecture in 1979, Motoya is a playwright and director. She now leads the theater company “Gekidan Motoya Yuriko.” After graduating from high school she acted in Otona Keikaku’s Fukusuke, director Akio Miyazawa’s alt. 4 and Village Produce’s 1989. In September of 2000 she started her own theater company. She was nominated for the 18th Yukio Mishima Award for her novel based on her play Funuke-domo, Kanashimi no Ai wo Misero. In addition to her activities as a playwright, Motoya has also drawn attention in other fields such as having her novels be printed in arts and entertainment magazines. Since April of 2005 she has also appeared as a Friday guest personality on the Nippon Broadcasting System’s radio program “All Night Nippon.”