The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Aug. 1, 2019
Japan Topics
Aichi Triennale opens (Aug. 1 – Oct. 14, 2019)
Launched in 2010, the Aichi Triennale is an international arts festival held once every three years in Aichi Prefecture. The fourth holding of the festival with its 75-day schedule from August 1 to October 14, 2019, takes as its theme “Taming Y/Our Passion.” The program schedule involves more than 90 artists and groups from Japan and abroad. In selecting the artists to be invited this time, a primary priority was placed on gender equality. In addition to an international contemporary exhibition, the lineup includes a film program, performing arts and music programs, etc., thus covering the full spectrum of world-leading contemporary arts. The main venues are the Aichi Arts Center, the Nagoya City Art Museum and various sites around the city of Nagoya, and this year time there are also events planned to take place on the streets of Nagoya and in Toyohashi City.
The performing arts department director, Chiaki Soma, has gathered a program of 14 cutting-edge works from theatre and other genres from Japan and abroad. Foreign works on the performing arts program include director, playwright, film director, and journalist, Milo Rau’s Five Easy Pieces, a play that takes as its subject the tragic serial murders of five young girls that shook Belgian society in the 1990s. The Nature Theater of Oklahoma (U.S.) presents a work performed in collaboration with dancers and taking its title from one of the founding principles of the United States of America, Pursuit of Happiness, which portrays both the emptiness of the United States of America, and the megalomania exposed since Trump’s inauguration.
Other works include the Netherlands’ youth theater company Theater Artemis presenting the Japan debut of The Story of the Story, the work awarded the Silver Lion in the theatre division at the International Theatre Festival at Venice Biennial 2019. From Japan, Akita Takayama presents his Public Speech Project, which reinterprets public oratory through theater and performance theory; Satoko Ichihara (Q) presents a music theatre work that liberally interprets the themes and structure from the Greek tragedy The Bacchae (Euripides); and video artist Meiro Koizumi presents his first ever full-fledged theater piece using VR technology, which takes the Greek tragedy Prometheus Bound (Aeschylus) as its point of departure.
In addition, Nagoya’s Theater Urinko, a company that specializes in productions for children and youth, collaborates with Motoi Miura (director) and Ryota Kuwakubo (set designer) in a play performed by actors wearing latex body suits that become extensions of their skin and appearances by cyborgs.
Also, in what is called the Extension Programs, there are lecture-type performances by the participating international contemporary artists and participation type projects. Among the participating artists are Dora Garcia, Kyun-Chome, Koki Tanaka, Hikaru Fujii and Dominique Chen.
+Aichi Triennale2019

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
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