Japanese Theatre after Fukushima: Okada Toshiki’s Current Location
February 2015New Theatre Quarterly 31(1):70 - 89
Abstract --- Due to the lingering aftermath of a nuclear catastrophe being mostly out of sight, the peripheral victims of the Fukushima disaster were no longer able to discern the boundary between the here of the safety zone and the there of the afflicted area. What ensued after this geographical unification was psychological unity in which the harmony-conscious ethics of the Japanese were excessively fortified, formulating what is often called the code of wa (harmonious integration), which implicitly coerced all to speak from hisaisha no tachiba (the standpoint of the afflicted people). Kyoko Iwaki, a doctoral student at Goldsmiths, University of London, after fourteen years as a theatre journalist in Japan, provides in this article a socio-psychological analysis on how the code of wa materialized as the unwritten law after the catastrophe, and argues how in Current Location (Genzaichi), playwright-director Okada Toshiki grapples with this code by developing a post-Fukushima aesthetic. By pertinently using the apparatus of ‘fiction’ as a guise for relieving the audience of the code, Okada develops a theatre language that voices discord in content, yet accord in form, permitting the characters to speak both from the here and the there.