Japanese Theatre Review
Stage III of



"The Duty of Princess Kaguya"
Dir. Kenshow Yamamoto
Theatre X (CAI) Tokyo

“What would happen if Princess Kaguya came to Earth today? Using a time machine, in accordance with Albert Einstein’s theory, she arrived from the past to our times. How would she cope with the present? How would she expose the flaws, but also the beauty of our world? The story of Princess Kaguya from the collection “The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter” is one of the oldest and most beautiful Japanese legends. The princess, who came from the Moon, becomes a litmus test for human nature. Her nobility and kindness reveal the shortcomings of humanity. The power of love and the beauty of human emotions cause her longing for life on Earth. The performance by Teatr X (Cai) from Tokyo raises the most important questions, confronts ideals with the current reality. We invite you to the show, which, from the perspective of a Japanese fairy tale, tells about us and our times.”

Reżyseria: Kenshow Yamamoto

Graduate of the Faculty of Political Science and the Faculty of Political Economics at Waseda University in 1980. While still a student, he co-founded a theater with the playwright Risei Kishida. From 1982 to March 2017, he was a member of the theater group "En" (Circle). He was a student of Tamasaburo Bando. In 1988, he studied at the Terry Sliver Studio in New York. After returning to Japan, he worked as a director, translator, playwright, actor, and conducted numerous theater workshops and classes. He has published books such as "Fred Astaire" and "To Become an Actor," among others.

Warsaw: MTM, “Scena na Kocjana”, 27.11.2019 godz. 18.00
Poznan: Teatr Nowy, 04.12.2017 godz. 19.00

Kobo Abe "Przyjaciele"
Dir. Hiroaki Yamagutchi
Theatre Sobae - Kyoto

One of Kobo Abe’s greatest achievements in the field of absurd theater. Like in his earlier dramas, Abe focuses on the slow disintegration of individuality of humans. A family moves into a young man’s apartment, wanting to save him from loneliness. This event initiates a series of absurd events leading to a slow destruction in the name of “family love”.

Directing: Hiroaki Yamaguchi

In 1997, he became an actor at the "Tobidogu" theater in Kyoto. In 2007, he formed his own theater group "Konoshitayami" and works as a producer, actor, sound and lighting operator. In 2009, he began doctoral studies at the Department of Theater Studies at Osaka University. In 2011, he received an award for Best Director at the Toga Competition for his play "Paper Ball". From 2013 to 2015, he studied for a master's degree in the class of W.W. Fokin at the State Academy of Theater in St. Petersburg.

Warsaw: MTM, “Scena na Kocjana”, 28.11.2019 godz. 18.00
Poznan: Fundacja Malta, 06.12.2019 godz. 19.00

Zenkyu Kawata "Salaryman Kyogen"
Dir.. Zenkyu Kawata
Theater Ofice Kaja - Kyoto


A typical day for a Japanese office worker. The air is stifling and the printer in the corner whirs incessantly. By the end of the workday, the cherry blossoms will have bloomed a hundred times and the moon will have risen ten thousand times. Then it’s off to the bar with colleagues to listen to the boss’s latest jokes and sing karaoke with the deputy. The phone rings again… What can you do in such a reality to avoid losing yourself in the stream of sounds, names, and routine? Of course, you laugh! That’s what the Japanese do.

Directing: Zenkuy Kawata

An actor of traditional Japanese Kyogen theater. In 1999, he entered Kyoto University, where he studied in the Kyogen Study Group (KGKK). Kawata studied traditional Kyogen acting techniques under the guidance of Masao Kimura and Masami Amitani, masters from the Okura school. For years, he has been practicing Kyogen and participating in events to promote it around the world (organizing workshops, training sessions, seminars). Since 2015, he has started performing "Salaryman Kyogen" - Kyogen with contemporary characters.

Warsaw: MTM “Scena na Kocjana”, 29.11.2019 godz. 18.00
Poznan: Fundacja Malta, 05.12.2019 godz. 19.00

Kunio Kisida "Paper Balloon"
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov "The Bear"
Dir. Hiroaki Yamaguchi
Theatre Konoshitayami - Kyoto

Marital problems are the same everywhere. “How to save my wife from boredom on a Sunday?” the wife says to her husband. “And how not to make trouble for the husband…,” the husband replies to his wife. “Maybe we should buy a dog?” the husband suggests. “Better a bird!” comes the response. “Yes, a bird!” agrees the wife. “No, a dog!” she says afterward. What to do with marital routine? The play by Konoshitayami group tells a humorous story about marital dilemmas from both Japanese and Russian perspectives.

This passage discusses Anton Chekhov’s short play “The Bear” (1888), which the author himself described as a “joke in one act.” The play depicts a “very serious duel” between widow Popova and creditor Smirnov. The complicated schemes Smirnov devises to collect a debt prove to be no match for Popova’s charms. Victory in the battle ultimately goes to both characters, and the play ends with harmony and understanding between the man and woman.

Warsaw: MTM “Scena na Kocjana” 30.11.2019 godz. 18.00
Poznan Fundacja Malta, 07.12.2019 godz. 19.00


Yukio Mishima „ The Fan”
Dir. Narumi Kouhei
Theatre Dainanagekijo — Tsu

“The Fan” is a play based on the 14th-century Noh theater piece of the same title. It is a timeless story about love, loneliness, and betrayal. The beautiful Hanako, the main character of the play, waits every day at the train station for the arrival of her beloved Yoshio. With an open fan, she stares at the face of every man she meets, believing that she has not been abandoned forever.

Directing: Narumi Kouhei

Director and artistic director of the Dainanagekijo Theatre, is a graduate of Waseda University. He earned a degree in image theatre. Narumi creates works that show human drama from the perspective of experience, building images of the world through loneliness and exhaustion. His productions are highly regarded in Japan and abroad for their multilayeredness independent of language. His shows have been presented in 20 cities in Japan and abroad (France, Germany, and South Korea).

Warsaw: MTM “Scena na Kocjana”, 01.12.2019 godz. 18.00
Poznan: Fundacja Malta, 03.12.2019 godz. 19.00

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Stage II of the “Ambassador – Culture” project.”
Study visit to Tokyo – Kyoto – Osaka; 07-14.11.2018
Lectures during the Tokyo Festival, at the Kyoto Art Center, and at Osaka University.
Meetings with Japanese theater creators and preparations for the third edition of the project.

Lectures for theater students at Osaka University on the occasion of the centenary of Polish independence were conducted by Professor Dariusz Kosiński, titled “One hundred years of Polish independence, one hundred years of Polish theater,” and Filip Frątczak, titled “The role of non-governmental organizations in Polish theater life 1989-2018.” We would like to thank Professor Yasuchi Nagata for the warm reception in Osaka and Paweł Pachciarek for translating both lectures. The second part of the “Ambassador – Culture” project, which we are implementing on the occasion of the centenary of diplomatic relations between Poland and Japan, was co-financed by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, the Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute, and the Konoshitayami Theater. We thank our sponsors for their support – the Board of the “Plac Teatralny” Foundation.


On the occasion of the centenary of Poland’s regaining of independence and the centenary of establishing diplomatic relations with Japan, as part of the “Ambassador – Culture” project, the University of Osaka invited Professor Dariusz Kosiński to give a lecture titled “100 years of independence, 100 years of Polish theater…” and Filip Frątczak to speak about “Changes in Polish theater and the role of NGOs from 1989 to 2018”. Professor Dariusz Kosiński will also give lectures during the Tokyo Festival and at the Kyoto Art Center.

The program of the visit to Japan includes numerous meetings with Japanese theater creators and managers, as well as preparations for further stages of the project implemented jointly by our foundation and the Konoshita Yami Theater.

9 November 2019

On the occasion of the centenary of Poland’s independence, Professor Dariusz Kosiński delivered a lecture at the Tokio Festival titled “One Hundred Years of Independence, One Hundred Years of Polish Theater.” The lecture was translated by the distinguished translator Dr. Koichi Kuyama.

Theatre Ludowy
28, 29 September 2018

Cracow was the last stop on the Polish tour of the Konoshitayami group in Poland. It couldn’t have been done without a walk around the city of Cracow, which is a partner city of Kyoto, where the Konoshitayami Theatre comes from. The Ludowy Theatre from Nowa Huta opened its hospitable doors to the Japanese guests. This time, the accompanying events were organized by the Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology. As usual, visitors could take photos in yukatas, and this time there were traditional Japanese costumes available for men as well. Origami workshops were as popular as ever. The tea ceremony attracted with its ritual and the taste of original Japanese tea. The stand with souvenirs from Japan was also very popular. The audience in Cracow did not disappoint either – the theatre in Nowa Huta was full, and the reception after the performances was exceptionally warm and friendly. Similarly to Poznan, the viewers used the opportunity to experience the culture of the Land of the Rising Sun until the last moment. After the hard work, there was a moment of rest, with cake and coffee. This was the last performance of our Japanese partner in Poland. A long evening conversation followed about how to plan the next stages of the “Ambassador – Culture” project, and the next day our guests will travel from Warsaw airport back home to Kyoto.

Theatre Nowy im. Tadeusza Łomnickiego
25, 26 September 2018

On September 25 and 26, 2018, the Nowy Theater in Poznań hosted full audiences for the performances of the Konoshitayami group. The actors playing in the play “Marriage”, Yuumi Hirota and Daighaku Futakuchi, created a magnificent spectacle that was rewarded with standing ovations. The event was accompanied by a great program organized by the Creativa Japonica student circle of Japanese studies at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. Similar to the event in Warsaw, participants could take photos in yukatas and participate in origami workshops. Additional attractions included calligraphy workshops and Japanese sushi prepared by the Japanese kitchen friendly with the Nowy Theater. The Japanese evening continued long after the end of the performance. The Nowy Theater team did an excellent job with organization, making the Polish-Japanese meeting in Poznań exceptionally attractive for the audience, who left the theater satisfied with their contact with the culture of the Land of the Rising Sun.

22, 23 september 2018

The arrival of the Konoshitayami Theatre on tour to Poland, on the occasion of the centenary of diplomatic relations between Poland and Japan, was prepared by our Foundation for a year. Warsaw was the first city on the itinerary of this Japanese theatre group’s stay in Poland. During the two stops in Warsaw and Poznan, students of Japanese studies from the “Creativa Japonica” scientific circle at UAM in Poznan were very helpful to us. We would like to thank especially Ms. Roma Łęcka, who supported our work in both cities. The preparations for the performances are very precise and professional. The artists, together with the technical team, build the scenography. Then there is a very intense warm-up, which lasts about an hour. The actors are very well prepared for the performances, which increases the precision of the performance and the level of improvisation during the show, and we can admire the quality and ease of execution. The performances of the Konoshitayami Theatre from Kyoto at the Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute in Warsaw gathered a large audience. The manager of the group, Ms. Polina Samsonova, welcomed the audience in a traditional Japanese kimono. Two one-act plays, “The Paper Ball” by Kunio Kishida and “The Bear” by Anton Chekhov, appeared on the stage of the Theatre Institute under the common title “Marriage”. The director of the performance is Mr. Hiroaki Yamaguti. The Warsaw shows were greeted with standing ovations, which gave us – the organizers – great joy, as we were sure of the artistic level presented by our Japanese partner. During the intermission, Warsaw women could dress up in yukatas – summer Japanese costumes – which we photographed and posted on our FB profile. Origami workshops also enjoyed great interest, surpassing our expectations in popularity. Warsaw residents were eager to ask about Japanese customs, traditions, and culture. Ms. Roma translated questions and answers for interested people. After the performance, there was a well-deserved dinner and long conversations about plans for the future and the next stops on the Polish tour of the Konoshitayami theatre group.

Stage I of the “Ambassador – Culture” project.        Tour of the Konoshitayami Theatre in Poland:
21 – 30 IX 2018  
Warsaw, Poznan, Cracow

The Polish Foundation of Performing Artists “Plac Teatralny” is fulfilling its mission of cultural diplomacy by collaborating with the Konoshitayami Theater from Kyoto on the “Ambassador – Culture” project. The project is being carried out to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Poland and Japan. The Embassy of Japan in Poland has given its honorary patronage to our work. The project partners include the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, the Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute in Warsaw,  Theatre Nowy in Poznań, the Theatre Ludowy in Cracow, the Marshal’s Office of the Wielkopolska Province, the Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology, the Oriental Studies Department at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, the Creativa Japonica Student Circle of Japanese Studies, and the Kyoto Art Center.

The first part of the two-year project is the Tournée of the Konoshitayami Theatre in Poland:

Warsaw, Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute; September 22nd and 23rd, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.
Poznań, Tadeusz Łomnicki New Theatre; September 25th and 26th, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.
Cracow, Theatre Ludowy: September 28th and 29th, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.

For tickets, please visit the box office at: the Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute in Warsaw, the Tadeusz Łomnicki New Theatre in Poznań, or the People’s Theatre in Krakow.

One and a half hours before the show, we invite you to enjoy numerous attractions related to Japanese culture and art. We will present the art of ikebana, origami, write your names in Japanese, and take pictures of you in authentic kimonos. We will also prepare oriental dishes based on Japanese housewives’ recipes.

The project was created by Filip Frątczak, and the coordinators are Polina Samsonova from the Japanese side and Filip Frątczak from the Polish side.