Please view the main text area of the page by skipping the main menu.

'The Face of Jizo': Profiles of Hisashi Inoue and Roger Pulvers

Hisashi Inoue was born in 1934 in Yamagata Prefecture and educated at Sophia University in Tokyo. He worked as a scriptwriter and stage manager at the France Theater, a vaudeville theater in downtown Asakusa before becoming a writer for radio and television. For five years he wrote scripts for the popular puppet show "Hyokkori Hyotan Island." He debuted in the theater with "The Belly Button of the Japanese," following it with many highly successful plays such as "The Adventures of Dogen," "The Blind Master Yabuhara," "Makeup" and a series of plays about Japanese authors, Ichiyo Higuchi, Soseki Natsume and Osamu Dazai among them.

Inoue also wrote dozens of novels and books of collected essays and won many prizes, including the Naoki Prize and the prestigious Asahi Prize. In 1984 he founded Komatsuza, a theater troupe dedicated to the production of his work. He donated his private library of some 70,000 books to his hometown, where the "Writer's Block Library" was established. Kawanishi-machi Friendly Plaza is the location of the library and the "Citizens' School" founded under the auspices of Komatsuza with Inoue as principal.

He was chairman of the Japan Pen Club and artistic director of Komatsuza. Hisashi Inoue passed away on April 9, 2010, aged 75.


Roger Pulvers is an American-born Australian playwright, novelist, theater director and translator who has lived the better part of 45 years in Japan. He has published more than 40 books in Japanese and English, has twice directed at the Adelaide Festival of the Arts and was assistant director on the film "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence."

Pulvers was the recipient of the prestigious Miyazawa Kenji Prize in 2008; and in 2009 won the Crystal Simorgh Prize for Best Script at the 27th Fajr International Film Festival in Tehran for "Ashita e no Yuigon." He has translated works from Russian, Polish and Japanese, among them Gogol's "The Government Inspector," plays by Witkacy, and novels by Hisashi Inoue, such as "The Fortunes of Father Mockinpott," "Boon & Phoon," and "My Friend Frois," which is published by Komatsuza.

Also in The Mainichi

The Mainichi on social media