Major Artists, Directors & Playwrights

A select list of contemporary and post-war Japanese theatre practitioners. Their associated companies, past and current, are included in parentheses. As most Japanese playwrights tend to direct their own plays and run their own companies, dividing the list neatly is a difficult task. Directors and writers who have worked entirely in commercial theatre have not been included.

Directors / Theatre Artists

Robert Allan Ackerman (the company, TPT)

Norimizu Ameya

Kenji Higashi

Takeshi Kawamura (TPT)

Noriyuki Kiguchi (Akumanoshirushi)

Yuichi Kinoshita (Kinoshita-Kabuki)

Tamiya Kuriyama

Yukichi Matsumoto (Ishinha)

Motoi Miura (Chiten)

Keiko Miyata

Takuya Murakawa

Shigeki Nakano

Yukio Ninagawa (Gendaijin Gekijou, Sakurasha)

Shogo Ota

Sho Ryuzanji (Ryuzanji)

Yujiro Sagami

Kunio Sugihara (KUNIO, Kinoshita-Kabuki)

Tadashi Suzuki (Waseda Shogekijou, SCOT)

Akira Takayama (Port B)

Hitoshi Uyama

Writer-Directors

Go Aoki (Gring)

Seishin Chinen (The Creation Troupe)

Wishing Chong (aka Yoshinobu Tei) (Shinjuku Ryozanpaku)

Junko Emoto (Gekidan Emoto Junko, Kegawazoku)

Takahiro Fujita (Mum & Gypsy)

Satoshi Hayafune (Suspenders)

Oriza Hirata (Tokyo Notes, Seinendan)

Ryuta Horai (Modern Swimmers)

Rei Ichido (Gekidan Aoi Tori)

Yorozu Ikuta (The Spontaneous Tin Company)

Hideto Iwai (Hi-bye)

Ryo Iwamatsu (Origato Plastico, Theatrical Group En, Komatsuza)

Masahiro Iwasaki (Taiyosoku)

Yudai Kamisato (OKAZAKI ART THEATRE)

Tatsuo Kaneshita (Gazire Troupe)

Juro Kara (Red Tent, Situation Theatre, Karagumi, Karazemi, Shinjuku Ryozanpaku)

Rio Kishida (Tenjo Saijiki Theatre Laboratory, Kishida Rio Inc., Rakutendan)

Shoji Kokami (Daisan Butai, Kyoko no Gekijou)

Yuko Kuwabara (Kakuta)

Shiro Maeda (Gotanndadan)

Tomohiro Maekawa (Ikiume)

Nozomi Makino (MOP)

Masataka Matsuda (Marebito-no-Kai)

Shu Matsui (Sample)

Koki Mitani (Tokyo Sunshine Boys)

Daisuke Miura (Potudo-ru)

Ken Miyamoto

Akio Miyazawa (U-Enchi Saisei Jigyodan)

Yukiko Motoya (Gekidan Motoya Yukiko)

Ai Nagai (Nitosha)

Keishi Nagatsuka (Asagaya Spiders)

Hideki Noda (NODA MAP)

Toshiki Okada (chelfitsch)

Ren Saito (Jiyu Gekijou)

Yoji Sakate (Rinkogun)

Makoto Satoh (Black Tent Theatre, Theatre Center 68/71)

Keralino Sandorovich (Origato Plastico, Kenko, Nylon 100°C, Kera Map)

Misaki Setoyama (Minamoza)

Yukio Shiba (mamagoto)

Toshiro Suzue

Matsuo Suzuki (Otona Keikaku)

Junichiro Takeuchi (Shakosha, Hiho Zero Bankan, JIS Kikaku)

Kuro Tanino (Niwa Gekidan Penino)

Shuji Terayama (Tenjo Saijiki Theatre Laboratory)

Hideo Tsuchida (MONO)

Kohei Tsuka (Kohei Tsuka Inc.)

Norihiko Tsukuda (B-Kyu Yugekitai)

Eriko Watanabe (Three Circles, Uchudo)

Tokiko Yamaoka (Gekidan Gyotou)

Masakazu Yamazaki (Society of the Hand)

Playwrights/Dramatists

Kobo Abe

Matsuyo Akimoto

Minoru Betsuyaku (Society of the Hand, Waseda Shogekijou)

Koji Hasegawa (Hirosaki Gekijou)

Hisashi Inoue

Junji Kinoshita

So Kitamura (TPO Shidan, Suisei ’86)

Kunio Shimizu (Sakurasha, Winter Tree Theatre Company)

2 responses to “Major Artists, Directors & Playwrights

  1. Who would you consider to be the top five contemporary Japanese playwrights?

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  2. @Michael Early

    It’s hard to narrow it down to a definitive top five. But I would say you could not miss out Daisuke Miura, Shu Matsui and Ryuta Horai.

    It is easier if we broaden it beyond “just” writers. People like Akira Takayama or Toshiki Okada are more directors than playwrights. (I.e. the text is not so important as presenting their final vision on stage, and even Okada’s work is even abroad rarely directed by someone other than himself.) Likewise Kuro Tanino is many things (painter, psychiatrist, director, set designer) but I doubt he’d want to be called a playwright, though he certainly merits inclusion in a “top five”.

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