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Mar. 26, 2019
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Oriza Hirata’s Nihon Bungaku Seisui-shi (The Rise and Fall of Japanese Literature) wins the 22nd Tsuruya Namboku Memorial Drama Award
Sponsored by the Kobun Foundation, the Tsuruya Namboku Memorial Award is a yearly drama award for new plays staged in Japanese that year. For the 22nd Tsuruya Namboku Memorial Award, seven active theater journalists formed a selection committee, gathering on Dec. 19, 2018 to nominate five works during their first round of selections. Of these, Oriza Hirata’s Nihon Bungaku Seisui-shi (The Rise and Fall of Japanese Literature) was chosen as the winner at the selection committee meeting held Jan. 16, 2019. The prize is 2 million yen.
Oriza Hirata is a playwright, director and leader of the theater company Seinendan. He is also the Artistic Director of the Komaba Agora Theater in Tokyo. He was born in Tokyo in 1962 and he graduated from the Education Department of International Christian University. Hirata’s awards include the 39th Kishida Kunio Drama Award for playwriting with Tokyo Notes in 1995, the 5th Yomiuri Theater Grand Prix “Best Play” and “Best Director” awards for Tsuki no Misaki (The Cape of the Moon) in 1998, the 9th Yomiuri Theater Grand Prix “Best Play” award for Ueno Dobutsuen Saisaisai Shugeki (Attacking the Ueno Zoo for the Fourth Time) (script, composition, directing by Hirata) in 2002. He also the AICT Critic Award In 2002 for Geijutsu Rikkoku Ron (Arts as the Basis of a Nation) published by Shueisha. In 2003, he won the 2nd Asahi Performing Arts Award for Sono Kawa wo Koete – Gogatsu (Across the River in May) (2002 Japan-Korea joint playwriting and directing / New National Theatre, Tokyo). In 2006, he won the Montblanc Culture Arts Patronage Award. In 2011 he was awarded the L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of the French Ministry of Culture.
The winning play this time premiered as 79th Seinendan production at the Kichijoji Theatre in June of 2018. The story is based mainly on the literature of the great writers of the Meiji Period and their struggles with words and their private lives, while also including current events, resulting in a bold reinterpretation of the novel of the same title by Genichiro Takahashi. The play depicts the wakes or post-funeral banquets for four authors of the Meiji Period: Toukoku Kitamura, Shiki Masaoka, Shimei Futabatei and Soseki Natsume. The discussions that take place between the deceased’s fellow authors there to grieve and the occasional intruders of our age focus on the questions of literary expression.
+Nominated works (in performance order)
Botanyuki ga Mautoki (When large snowflakes Fly) by Toru Takagi
Ai no Iro, Shimiru Yubi ni (In fingers stained with indigo blue) by Yuko Naito
Nihon Bungaku Seisui-shi (The Rise and Fall of Japanese Literature) by Oriza Hirata
Isan (Heritage) by Takeshi Furukawa
Ai ni Iku no, Ame dakedo (Going to meet you, even though it rains) by Takuya Yokoyama
Selection Committee: Hiroko Yamaguchi (Asahi Newspaper), Masako Nakamura (Jiji Press), Naoyuki Hayashi (Nikkan Sports), Yoichi Uchida (Nikkei Newspaper), Sayumi Uchino (Hochi Newspaper), Shoko Kodama (Mainichi Newspaper), Norifumi Yamauchi (Yomiuri Newspaper)
+Tsuruya Namboku Memorial Award (Sponsored by the Kobun Foundation)