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INOUE Hisashi
Born: 1934
Function: playwright
Company: Komatsuza

Born 1934 in Yamagata Prefecture, Inoue graduated from the French department of Tokyo's Sophia University and is now an author and playwright. In 1964 he co-wrote the script for NHK's hit TV puppet play series Hyokkori hyotanjima (Bottle Gourd Island). He made his theatrical debut in 1969 with Nihonjin no heso (The Navel of the Japanese). In 1972, he won the prestigious Naoki Prize for his novel Tegusari shinju (Handcuffed Double Suicide) written in the lively, witty style of Edo-period popular fiction. The same year he won the Kishida Drama Award and the Art Encouragement Prize for New Artists awarded by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology for his play Dogen no boken (The Adventures of Dogen). In 1984 he formed his own company, Komatsuza, which remains at the forefront of the arts world with works reveling in humor and language, revealing Inoue's extensive knowledge of and deep affection for the Japanese language. His works Tokyo saiban sanbu saku (The Tokyo Trials Trilogy) and Showa shomin sanbu saku (The Common People of Showa Trilogy) focus on the responsibility of war and Article 9 of Japan's constitution, which renounces military force. Some of his plays have been performed abroad to rave reviews including Kesho (Makeup), Yabuhara kengyo (Yabuhara, the Blind Master Minstrel), and Chichi to kuraseba (The Face of Jizo).

Photo: Yakou Masahiko
Chichi to kuraseba (The Face of Jizo)
Set over four days, Tuesday to Friday, during the last week of July 1948, in the house of Fukuyoshi Mitsue in Hiroshima, the entire script is in the Hiroshima vernacular. Mitsue narrowly escaped death in the atomic bombing three years earlier, but feels guilty at having survived when so many people, including her father, had died. Owing to this, she is unable to fall in love with the young Kinoshita she meets at work. Her father’s ghost appears in order to encourage their romance, and manages to persuade her that, “You’re alive because of us!” so that she can finally move on with her life.

First staged: 1994
Acts/scenes: 1 act 4 scenes
Cast: 2 (1 male, 1 female)
First staged by: Komatsuza
[Translations] English, French, German, Russian, Italian, Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, and Korean: available from Komatsuza

Photo: Yakou Masahiko
Romansu (Romance)
A vaudeville-style representation of Chekhov’s life in which four actors play Chekhov as a young boy, an adolescent, in his prime of life, and in old age. The boy who had dreamed of being able to write just one great vaudeville piece in his life becomes a respected author following the publication of a short story written while practicing as a doctor. Together with the director Stanislavski, he staged plays such as The Three Sisters to great acclaim, although the productions lacked the humorous content he had intended for them. The curtain comes down with a strong suggestion of lingering regret on the part of Chekhov.

First staged: 2007
Acts/scenes: 2 acts, 15 scenes
Cast: 6 (4 male, 2 female)
First staged by: Komatsuza and SIS Company