The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
May. 7, 2019
Japan Topics
The 63rd (2018) Kishida Drama Award winner is Shuntaro Matsubara
The final judging of the 63rd Kishida Drama Awards organized by Hakusuisha Publishing Co. took place on March 12th and the winning drama chosen was YAMAYAMA (I Would Prefer Not to) by Shuntaro Matsubara.
Shuntaro Matsubara is a Kyoto-based playwright. Born in Kumamoto Prefecture in 1988, Matsubara graduated from the Economics Department of Kobe University. Discovery of the works of Samuel Becket and James Joyce led him to begin writing novels. His encounter with theater began with Fatzer by the Kyoto-based theater company Chiten, after which Matsubara began writing plays. In 2015, his first play Michiyuki won the 15th AAF Drama Grand Prix. His representative works as a playwright are Wasureru Nihonjin and Shomen ni Kiwotsukero, and in short stories Mata no Tame ni.
The award-winning play this time was a co-production with KAAT (Kanagawa Arts Theatre) and Chiten directed by Chiten’s Motoi Miura that premiered at KAAT in June 2018. Taking as its motifs labor and love (Chekhov), life and death (Becket), the treatment of every symbol and stereotype (Jelinek) and the “great” American novelist Herman Melville’s Bartleby, the Scrivener, Matsubara’s play tell the story of the new resistance of a family living between the once-beautiful mountains and pollutants.
Jury member Toshiki Okada said of the play that, “Matsubara has the power to bombard us with incredibly powerful words that show us the reality we face in a dramatic way that attains an abstract aspect. The opinions of the jury were split, but I think [Matsubara] is amazing and unmatched. I hope his words will lead Japan’s theater world into a new future.
Yuji Sakamoto Mata Koko ka (Little More edition)
Roba Shimori Atom ga Kita Hi (stage script)
Misaki Setoyama Watashi, to Senso (stage script)
Shuko Nemoto Aiken Polly no Shi, Soshite Kazoku no Hanashi (stage script)
Hideo Furukawa Roma Teikoku no Mishima Yukio (in Shincho, October 2018 edition)
Shuntaro Matsubara   YAMAYAMA (I Would Prefer Not To) (in Higeki Kigeki July 2018 edition)
Shoko Matsumura Hanpuku to Junkan ni Fuzui Suru Bonyari no Boken (stage script)
Momoji Yamada Kyoshu no Oka Romantopia (stage script)
Ryo Iwamatsu
Toshiki Okada
Keralino Sandorovich
Hideki Noda
Oriza Hirata
Akio Miyazawa
Miri Yanagi
+Kishida Kunio Drama Award (Website in Japanese)

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)

Yokohama Dance Collection 2019 competition choreography award winners chosen
Yokohama Dance Collection 2019 is the annual contemporary dance festival organized for the purpose of nurturing young choreographers and popularizing contemporary dance. The final competition was held this year from February 7 to 10 and the winners were announced on the final day.
In Competition I (Dance Composition Division) the Jury Prize grand prix went to Yu Shimomura for the piece Defection for beginners: The country of DREAMS. In Competition II (New Choreographer Division) the Outstanding New Artist Prize was awarded to Yoko Omori for stars fall in sink-corner strainer.
The winners are shown below. For details visit the Yokohama Dance Collection website.
+Competition I (Dance Composition Division)
•Jury Prize, Porosus Endowment Fund – Camping 2019 Prize:
Shimomura Yu Defection for beginners: The country of DREAMS
•French Embassy Prize for Young Choreographers, FITS Prize:
Okamoto Yu “MANUAL”
•Encouragement Prize:
Norimatsu Kaoru / Tetsuda Emi / Choi Myung Hyun The Ignited Body
Chen Yi En Self-hate
Kang Subin Cut
(Applicants: 208 groups/individuals from 35 countries / Finalists: 10 groups from 6 countries performed works up to 20 minutes)
+Competition II (New Choreographer Division)
•Outstanding New Artist Prize, TOUCHPOINT ART FOUNDATION Prize:
Omori Yoko stars fall in sink-corner strainer
•Encouragement Prize:
Shawn K. Farrell Did you forget something?
Yokoyama Yaeko silence
•Best Dancer Prize:
Aoyagi Machiko foam
(Applicants: 38 groups/individuals / Finalists: 12 groups/individuals performed works of up to 10 minutes)
+Yokohama Dance Collection

24th Japan Playwrights Association New Playwright Prize Goes to Sakotsu ni Tenshi ga Nemutteiru
For the 24th Japan Playwrights Association New Playwright Prize, there were 238 applicants in 2018. Of them 30 were chosen for the second judging, and then six were selected as finalists in the second judging. At the Japan Playwrights Association Conference 2019 in Oita, held for the first time in five years at the J:COM Horuto Hall Oita, on Jan. 26, Sakotsu ni Tenshi ga Nemutteiru (An angel sleeps in the collarbone) by Pinkchiteijin3 was chosen winner of the New Playwright Prize.
Pinkchiteijin3 is the leader and playwright/director of the a theater unit Pinkteijin active in the theater company Chiten of Kyoto. Since 2015, he has also been active with Wakadanna Ieyasu of the unit Kotori ni Kai under the unit name of Momochi no Sekai, and the winning play this time was performed in 2018 by Momochi no Sekai. As a metaphor for “things lost,” it tells a story of the return of a good friend who had gone missing for some time.

Graduated with a degree in Aesthetics and Art Theory from the Department of Cultural Studies of the School of Literature of Doshisha University. At university in 2016, he joined with two other students to form the unit “Pinkchitei” with the “No. 3” as his stage name, and as the unit’s leader he was responsible for writing and directing their plays. Among his representative works are the 2010 play Sono Yubi de (literally: With that Finger, finalist in the 11th AAF Drama Awards), the 2017 play Kuroi Rakuda (literally: Black Camel, finalist for the 23rd Japan Playwrights Association New Artist Award) and the 2018 play Watashi no Hero (literally: My Hero, 6th Sendai Short Drama Grand Prix). (From the Momochi no Sekai website)
Akutamokuta by Morita Shinnosuke (Fukui Pref.)
Hetakuso na Jitachi by Onishi Hiroki (Kanagawa Pref.)
Sakotsu ni Tenshi ga Nemutteiru by Pinkchiteijin3 (Kyoto Pref.)
Homura by Nakamura Nobuaki (Kyoto Pref.)
Retire Men by Shimizu Yayoi (Kyoto Pref.)
Hikari no Nakade Me wo Korasu by Kotaka Tomoko (Kyoto Pref.)
+Jury members
Kawamura Takeshi, Sakate Yoji, Tsukada Norihiko, Tsuchida Hideo, Nagai Ai, Hirata Oriza, Makino Nozomi
+Japan Playwrights Association (Japanese only)

18th AAF Drama Award’s Grand Prize winner is Kuchita habikoru
The “AAF Drama Award” was started by the Aichi Arts Foundation in 2000 with the objective of exploring the question of what theater can and should be. Plays are solicited with the intention of staging performances of them and five plays are selected through primary and secondary judging sessions as finalist candidates. For the finalists of the 109 applicants for the 2019 prize, the open Grand Prize jury session was held on January 6th, and the Grand Prize winner was Aki Yamanouchi’s Kuchita habikoru, while the Special Prize went to a high school student, Suzu Watanabe (Minamiyama Senior High School Girls Drama Club) for her play By us.
Aki Yamanouchi is a member of the directing department of the theater company Seinendan, and the prize-winning work this time is a longer version of the play Inclusion performed with direction by Momo Hachisu of the same Seinendan directing department in Tokyo in May of 2018. The setting is a “fictional ruin” and the story is written on the themes of the impermanence of buildings, the prosperity of culture and the residual quality of ideas. This winning play and the other nominated finalist plays are shown on the Aichi Prefectural Arts Theater website.
+Winner’s profile
Aki Yamanouchi
Graduated from the Theater Department of Nihon University College of Art. She is the leader of the performing arts group Kiligs (former group name: AnK), a member of Kabujo (Kabuki Women’s College) and the directing department of Seinendan. Yamanouchi is responsible for writing and directing all of the plays of Kiligs and Kabujo. Her aim is performing arts that have romance or are romantic and she creates unique worlds that contain elements of inspiring culture (traditions, Joruri (Japanese traditional ballad dramas), club music, mangas, etc.). In 2014, she won the Best Directing award of the Sato Saikichi Awards for (directing the play Henalede) and the Special Prize of the 2017 AAF Drama Awards (name of play: Hakuchi wo warauka).
+Nominated Works
Kuchita habikoru by Aki Yamanouchi
Sugoi Kikai by Naoya Wagatsuma
by us by Suzu Watanabe
Yakutatazu! by Furukawa Toshimasa
Wattsui Jinmin no teki by Katsumi Sasaki
Jury: Chiharu Shinoda (director, writer, eventer), Kohei Narumi (Dainanagekijo representative, director), Shirotama Hitsujiya (director, playwright, actor, artistic director of Yubiwa Hotel), Motoi Miura (CHITEN representative, director), Miwa Yanagi (artist)
+18th AAF Drama Award (Japanese only)
Presenter Topics
Berlin’s “Theatertreffen” festival to open (May 3 – 20, 2019)
An annual festival which hosts the 10 most “bemerkenswerten (notable)” theatrical pieces performed in the German-speaking world. This year, from among the 418 works presented in 65 cities, jurors made an initial selection of 39 works, and after careful consideration 10 finalist selections were made.
From the festival’s inclination toward “story theater,” many of its featured pieces are derived from “classical” works in the Western world. Examples include a Deutsches Theater Berlin production of Ingmar Bergman’s play Persona, the premiere performance of which was directed by the emerging director Anna Bergmann; a production in translation of David Foster Wallace’s novel of 1000 pages, Infinite Jest, directed by the mid-career director Thorsten Lensing; and Hotel Strindberg (a work that combines elements from The Ghost Sonata, The Pelican and To Damascus) by the internationally recognized Australian director Simon Stone.
In contrast, original works that were selected by the festival include performance troupe She She Pop’s ORATORIO, premiered at HAU; Girl From the Fog Machine Factory by the 80s-born director Thom Luz’s; Christopher Rüping’s Dionysos Stadt and The Internet by Ersan Mondtag, born in Berlin in 1987, which won him the accolade of Best Young Director with Theater heute magazine in 2016.

Festival Outline
This theater meeting is held every year in Berlin in May since 1963. From among the roughly 2,000 theater productions performed each year in the German-speaking countries of Austria, Switzerland and Germany, a jury of freelance theater critics select at most ten outstanding works to be invited to this festival, which has gained a reputation as a proving ground for young theater makers. During the festival period, the organizers of the Theatertreffen, the Berliner Festspiele, cooperates with the Head Office of the Munich Goethe Institute and Switzerland’s Arts Council Pro Helvetia to organize two weeks of workshops known as the International Forum. This forum is attended by theater-makers under the age of 35, not only from the German-speaking countries but also from other countries around the world. With introductions of scripts and discussions, the forum serves as a platform for young theater people. In addition to the introduction of scripts, it also functions to present two weeks of workshops. The festival director since 2003 is Iris Laufenberg.

Austria’s largest arts festival Wiener Festwochen (Vienna Festival Weeks) opens (May 10 – June 16, 2019)
Despite being one of Europe’s international arts festivals, the Wiener Festwochen (Vienna Festival Weeks) has suffered from inconsistency in its programming in the last few years due to factors like the resignations of programmers and artistic directors. From this year, however, the festival welcomes as its new artistic director for the next six years Christophe Slagmuylder, who has long lead the Kunsten Festival des Arts. Though originally he was scheduled to begin his directorship in 2020, attention has focused on what is for this festival the unprecedented quickness with which a program of more than 40 artists has been put together for this year.
Slagmuylder has said that he would not set a unified these for the festival. But he also says that due to his own convictions he has gathered works that are intended to serve as an “antidote” to help alleviate the bipolarization of societies like Austria’s by challenging self-contained blind acceptance of the status quo and breaking down the mindset of dualistic populism. And he also says that he wants to take not a short-term vision but a long-term one toward helping to make Vienna an open, international city.
Although details of opening performances were not been announced earlier, it was said to be an event to be held in the Donaustadt district of Vienna and planned as a participation-type project to bring in the people of the local community with special creations. Also, as evidence of Slagmuylder’s ample network, the program brings together a long list of artists who lead the international theater scene, like Angélica Liddel, Krystian Lupa, Milo Rau, Markus Ö hrn, Mariano Pensotti, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Marcelo Evelin, François Chaignaud and others.
From Japan, Toshiki Okada has been invited with a re-created production of Five Days in March.

Festival Outline
This is an international festival held since 1951 each May and June in Vienna on the largest scale of any Austrian festival. The venues include the Museums Quartier, Theater an der Wien, Wiener Konzerthaus and the Schauspielhaus, as well as locations like markets and squares around the city, making virtually the entire city the festival’s stage. The programming features operas and performing arts from around the world with leading directors, conductors and orchestras providing the latest in performing arts, consisting of works in both classical styles and the newest productions, along with contemporary works in new staging. In 2011, Luc Bondy became to festival’s overall director, Stephanie Carp the theatre director and Stéphane Lissner the music director and 45 productions from 23 countries drew a total audience of 180,000. From Japan, artists including potudo-ru and Akira Takayama have participated in the past.
+Wiener Festwochen

One of Australia’s largest international arts festivals, the Adelaide Festival, to open (Mar. 1 – 17, 2019)
Founded in 1960, the Adelaide Festival is a large-scale comprehensive arts festival. Its two-and-a-half week program features a wide variety of arts, from theater, music, dance, literature and visual arts to works for children and more. Originally a biennale, the festival has been held annually since 2012. The artistic director until last year was the founder of London’s alternative music festival Meltdown, David Sefton. From 2017, welcomed the former co-directors of Sydney’s Belvoir St. Theatre, Neil Armfield AO and Rachel Healy as artistic directors.
Among this year’s large theatre productions are: Kings of War, a conflation of five plays by Shakespeare (Henry V, Henry VI Part I, II and III, and Richard III) directed by Ivo Van Hove; The Far Side of the Moon, written and directed by Robert Lepage; and the opera production of Hamlet composed by Brett Dean that premiered to high acclaim at the Glyndebourne Festival Opera.
On the dance program are: Akram Khan’s new work XENOS, which he has announced will be his final performances as a dancer in a full-length piece; the piece FLA.CO.MEN performed by the Israel GALVÁN, a famed maverick of the genre; and Bennelong, a work by Bangarra Dance Theatre that explores the life of one of our history’s most significant Aboriginal elders.
During this year’s festival a special program titled Adelaide Writers’ Week will introduce that gathers novelists and writers from around the world to talk on a wide range of subjects.

Festival Outline
Believing in the potential for an arts festival in Adelaide through his involvement in the South Australia national theatre movement, journalist Sir Lloyd Dumas and Adelaide University music professor John Bishop enlisted the support of influential citizens to launch the festival in 1960 with a program of 105 performances (74 for adults and 31 for children) over the course of half a month. Held biennially on even numbered years, the Adelaide Festival and its concurrent Adelaide Fringe Festival grew to become one of Australia’s leading international arts festival events along with those in Sydney and Melbourne. Invited participants from Japan include Daisan Erotica with A Man Named Macbeth in 1994 and Yukichi Matsumoto with Mizumachi in 2000. The festival has been held annually since 2012.
+Adelaide Festival

PuSh Performing Arts Festival opened in Vancouver (Jan. 17 – Feb. 2, 2019)
Modeled after Europe’s international theater festivals, this festival invites performing arts creators from Europe, Asia and the United States with the aim of creating discourse among Vancouver-based artists and stimulate the local theater scene. It focuses in particular on inviting a diverse, genre-bending range of works of music, video, theater and other genres of performing arts in forms such as never seen before. The 2019 edition celebrates the 15th anniversary of festival.
Of particular note on this year’s program is a documentary installation titled Zvizdal (Chernobyl – So Far So Close) created by the Antwerp-based art collective BERLIN, together with journalist Cathy Blisson, who together spent five years filming an elderly couple living deep within the irradiated Chernobyl exclusion zone where they formed an intimate bond of trust within that time.
There was also the stunning play Palmyra by Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas which takes the name of a Syrian city as its title and plays out a simple situation in which two men are onstage, one of them has a plate while the other does not. From there, conflict develops in a theater-of-the-absurd style that ranges from the comical to the brutal.
Appearing from Japan were musicians and artists in Tetsuya Umeda, ASUNA and Marginal Consort. Their musical and theatrical performances included experimental interludes.

Festival Outline
This Vancouver festival has been the focus of growing attention recently and has helped put the city on the map of Canadian performing arts centers along with Montreal and Toronto. The festival uses several venues in the Vancouver metropolitan area. The program covers the genres of theater, dance and music with a mission of providing “the very best in contemporary performance” selected from Canadian works. The successful 2009 festival gathered a total audience of 23,000 during its run. Japanese artists performing at that 2009 festival included Chelfitsch. The festival schedule also features meetings for presenters and other events to encourage networking. In 2019, the program also included meetings for presenters and other events to help networking to function between Canada and abroad. With curation in 2019 by musician Aki Onda, sound artists Tetsuya Umeda, ASUNA and Marginal Consort also gave performances.
+PuSh International Performing Arts Festival