The Face Of Jizo (2010)

By Hisashi Inoue
Directed by Sonoko Kawahara

Hibakusya Stories Play Reading series
New York Theatre Workshop

Mitsue: People were killed in my place. I do not have the right to find happiness.

In the summer of 1948, Mitsue finds it impossible to allow herself to fall in love. One day, she receives the visit of her father’s ghost who tries to convince her to start her new life. Jizo is a Buddhist term that refers to a Japanese divinity who works to alleviate suffering and who is the guardian of unborn, aborted and miscarried babies.

With its Laughter and tears, this is the greatest comedy of Japan’s postwar era.
-Shinichi Maruya, Mainichi Shimbun

The pivotal emphasis rests less with the misery (of Hiroshima) than with the question of how we can survive the present and the future as human beings.
– Osamu Imamura, Asahi Shimbun

PROLOUGE from “THe FACE OF JIZO” by Hisashi Inoue

(published by Komatsuza, 1994)
Hiroshima. Nagasaki. When these two are mentioned, the following opinion is increasingly heard. “It’s wrong to keep acting as if the Japanese were the victims. The Japanese were the victimizers at the time in what they did in Asia.” The second sentence is certainly on the mark. The Japanese were the perpetrators of wrong throughout Asia.

As for the first sentence, however, I remain adamant that this is not the case. This is because I believe that those two atomic bombs were dropped not only on the Japanese but on all humankind.

The people exposed to those bombs, scorched as they were with the fires of hell, represent all people around the world in the second half of the 20th century. We are all unable to escape the presence of nuclear weapons.

For this reason, it is not out of a victim’s mentality that I write about this. Feigning ignorance of the human catastrophe that occurred in those cities would constitute, for me as one person among the more than six billion on the Earth, the immoral choice.

In all likelihood my life will be over when I have finished writing about Hiroshima and about Nagasaki.


Written bu Hisashi Inoue
Translated by Roger Pulvers
Directed by Sonoko Kawahara
Ikuko Ikari, Glenn Kubota, and Judson Kniffen
Sounds design by-Soichiro Migita

May 13ht & 27th

This presentation of The Face of Jizo is made possible by the support of Nancy Quinn Fund, a project of A.R.T./New York.