This year’s annual summer reading presentation by the New National Theatre, Tokyo (NNTT) will run Aug. 11–14 at its Pit theatre and feature the powerful wartime drama “Himeyuri” performed by trainees from its Drama Studio.
This annual reading program aims to encourage its young participants to think about Japan’s wartime role prior to its unconditional surrender in 1945. In most years, the NNTT chooses a piece related to events in Okinawa or Hiroshima during World War II.
“Himeyuri” is an original play based on notes made by some of a unit of 222 students and 18 teachers in a so-called Himeyuri (Lily Corps) providing medical support for Imperial Army forces during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. Based in cave hospitals on the front lines, few members of the unit survived.
Nobuhiro Nishikawa, the director of “Himeyuri,” co-curated the notes and produced an outline with Teiichi Dojo before Kaoru Setoguchi wrote the script. The finished play was first performed by NNT Drama Studio in 2016 and has since been a popular part of its repertoire.
This time, trainees from the second year of the 3-year course will make their first public performances with this moving war tragedy.
As 2022 is the 50th anniversary of Okinawa’s restoration to Japan following its postwar U.S. Occupation, besides performances at the Pit theatre, others will be staged at the newly renovated Parthenon Tama in Tama City, Tokyo, on Sept. 3 and at the National Theatre Okinawa on Sept. 7.
“Himeyuri” runs Aug. 11–14 at the NNTT Pit theatre, a 3-min. walk from Hatsudai Station on the Keio Line. (English subtitles will be provided on tablets available on Aug. 12 and 13.) It then tours to Tama City, Tokyo and Urasoe City in Okinawa. For more details, please visit http://www.nntt.jac.go.jp/play/himeyuri_2022-okinawa/.