Shu Matsui wins Kishida Kunio Drama Award

It’s third time lucky for Shu Matsui who, after several nominations, has finally scooped the Kishida Kunio Drama Award for his play “Proud Son” (Jiman no Musoko), which was staged last September in Tokyo and Osaka. The prize comes with 200 thousand yen cash.

One of the judges, playwright, actor and director Ryo Iwamatsu, said:

An outstanding portrayal of life’s anti-climaxes. Although the focus is on the relationship between mother and son, the unique perspective on the world also stirs up sexual aromas. The at times violent and simple scene changes are proof of how the writer has won fame for putting his thoughts into drama.
(My translation.)

(Japan’s theatre prizes are unusual in that judges are typically contemporaries. Here, Iwamatsu was joined by playwrights Ai Nagai, Hideki Noda, Akio Miyazawa, Shoji Kokami and Yoji Sakate. No journalists, critics, editors or academics in sight!)

In a Japan Times interview when “Proud Son” was staged, Matsui said:

People today, especially Japanese, are very similar to zombies; they have a lack of independence and go through their days living so passively. I wondered what would it be like if the zombies were only pretending to behave in a robotic manner — and what if they were to stand up together one time . . . . This kind of thinking helps me come up with plays about today’s complex society.

Other nominees were Junko Emoto, Tomohiro Maekawa, Masaaki Akahori, Yu Takeuchi, Ichiro Maruomaru, Takahiro Tamura, Seiji Nozoe, and Akihito Nakatsuru.


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