Famous Japanese Playwrights

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 1 
Yukio Mishima
(One of the Most Important Japanese Authors of the 20th Century)
Yukio Mishima
7
Birthdate: January 14, 1925
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Yotsuya, Tokyo, Japan
Died: November 25, 1970

Japanese author, poet, and playwright Yukio Mishima is counted amongst the most important Japanese authors of the 20th century. His best-known works feature a fusion of traditional Japanese and modern Western literary styles. He was the founder of the Tatenokai, an unarmed private militia dedicated to traditional Japanese values. He was considered controversial due to his political activities. 

 2 
Mamoru Oshii
(Japanese Filmmaker, Television Director and Writer)
Mamoru Oshii
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Birthdate: August 8, 1951
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan

Mamoru Oshii is a Japanese writer, filmmaker, and television director. Renowned for incorporating philosophical values into his storytelling, Oshii's style of filmmaking has attracted praise from other popular directors like Steven Spielberg and James Cameron. Over the years Mamoru Oshii has received nominations for several prestigious awards like the Golden Lion and Palme d'Or.

 3 
Yasutaka Tsutsui
(Actor, Novelist, Writer, Playwright, Science fiction writer, Screenwriter)
Yasutaka Tsutsui
4
Birthdate: September 24, 1934
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ōsaka
Noted novelist Yasutaka Tsutsui is also known as a science fiction author, and actor. He won Tanizaki Prize in 1987 for Yumenokizaka bunkiten and also received 1981 Izumi Kyoka award, the 1989 Kawabata Yasunari award, and the 1992 Nihon SF Taisho Award. With dark humour and satirical content, Tsutsui's works are seen as the basis for Japan's postmodern science fiction.
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 4 
Izumo no Okuni
(Inventor)
Izumo no Okuni
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Birthdate: 1572 AD
Birthplace: Izumo Province, Japan
Died: November 30, 1613
 5 
Kyōka Izumi
(Japanese Author of Novels, Short Stories, and Kabuki Plays Who Was Active During the Prewar Period)
Kyōka Izumi
4
Birthdate: November 4, 1873
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan
Died: September 7, 1939

Often considered an eccentric and superstitious writer, Kyōka Izumi chiefly wrote on fantasy, producing numerous novels, short stories and haiku plays in the backdrop of distinctive and yet supernatural world, using fantasy to criticize many social norms and practices.  Initially trained by Ozaki Kōyō, Izumi has produced several masterpieces, including The Holy Man of Mount Kōya and Worship at Yushima.

 6 
Shūji Terayama
(Japanese Avant-Garde Poet, Dramatist and Writer)
Shūji Terayama
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Birthdate: December 10, 1935
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture, Japan
Died: May 4, 1983
A Japanese avant-garde poet, Shūji Terayama was also a dramatist, writer, film director, and photographer. During his prolific career, he created radio drama, underground theatre, countercultural essays and Japanese New Wave and "expanded" cinema. Besides publishing 200 literary works, Terayama also created over 20 short and full-length films. The Shuji Terayama Museum was opened in 1997 to celebrate his life.
 7 
Chikamatsu Monzaemon
(writer, playwright)
Chikamatsu Monzaemon
3
Birthdate: 1653 AD
Birthplace: Echizen Province
Died: January 6, 1725
 8 
Toshio Furukawa
(Actor, Playwright, Seiyū)
Toshio Furukawa
3
Birthdate: July 16, 1946
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ōhira
Height: 5'5" (165 cm)
 9 
Zeami Motokiyo
(Actor)
Zeami Motokiyo
2
Birthdate: 1363 AD
Birthplace: Iga Province, Japan
Died: September 1, 1443
 10 
Enchi Fumiko
(Japanese Writer Best Known for Her Explorations Into the Ideas of Sexuality, Gender, Human Identity, and Spirituality)
Enchi Fumiko
2
Birthdate: October 2, 1905
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan
Died: November 12, 1986

Enchi Fumiko was a Japanese writer whose novel, Days of Hunger, earned her the Women's Literature Prize in 1954. One of the most important and popular women writers of the Shōwa era, Enchi also won the Noma Literary Prize for her novel The Waiting Years. Her works were renowned for incorporating elements of eroticism, realism, and fantasy.

 11 
Kafū Nagai
(Japanese Novelist, Essayist and Playwright)
Kafū Nagai
2
Birthdate: December 3, 1879
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan
Died: April 30, 1959

Nagai Kafū was a Japanese author, essayist, playwright, and diarist. He is credited with depicting the lives of prostitutes, geishas, and cabaret dancers in early 20th-century Tokyo through his works. Many of his works such as Ude Kurabe have been translated into English.

 12 
Kan Kikuchi
(Japanese Dramatists and Playwright)
Kan Kikuchi
2
Birthdate: December 26, 1888
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Takamatsu, Kagawa, Japan
Died: March 6, 1948

Kan Kikuchi was a Japanese author who founded a popular publishing company called Bungeishunjū and a successful magazine of the same name. He is also credited with establishing the Naoki and Akutagawa Prize for popular literature as well as the Japan Writer's Association. Kikuchi also served as the head of Daiei Motion Picture Company which was later renamed Kadokawa Pictures.

 13 
Yukio Ninagawa
(Theatre director)
Yukio Ninagawa
2
Birthdate: October 15, 1935
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kawaguchi, Japan
Died: May 12, 2016
 14 
Sadakichi Hartmann
(Critic)
Sadakichi Hartmann
1
Birthdate: November 8, 1867
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dejima, Nagasaki, Japan
Died: November 22, 1944
 15 
Sawako Ariyoshi
(Japanese Writer Known for Such Works as 'The Doctor’s Wife' and 'The River Ki')
Sawako Ariyoshi
2
Birthdate: January 20, 1931
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Wakayama, Japan
Died: August 30, 1984

Sawako Ariyoshi was a Japanese writer best remembered for discussing social issues through her work. Widely regarded as one of the most famous female writers in Japan, Ariyoshi was honored with several prestigious awards like the Fujin Kōron Readers’ Award and Art Selection Minister of Education Award. Her novel, The Doctor's Wife, established her as an excellent postwar Japanese writer.

 16 
Kan'ami
(Actor)
Kan'ami
1
Birthdate: 1333 AD
Birthplace: Iga, Japan
Died: June 8, 1384
 17 
Tsubouchi Shōyō
(Japanese Playwright, Novelist and Critic)
Tsubouchi Shōyō
1
Birthdate: May 22, 1859
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Minokamo, Gifu, Japan
Died: February 28, 1935

Tsubouchi Shōyō was a Japanese author, playwright, critic, translator, educator, and editor who also worked as a professor at Waseda University. Widely regarded as an influential figure in Japanese drama, Tsubouchi Shōyō's Kabuki play Kiri Hitoha influenced modern Kabuki. He is also credited with influencing many of Masaoka Shiki's works. The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum is named in his honor.

 18 
Masao Kume
(Japanese Playwright, Novelist and Poet)
Masao Kume
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Birthdate: November 23, 1891
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ueda, Nagano, Japan
Died: March 1, 1952

Masao Kume was a Japanese novelist, playwright, and haiku poet. Kume is credited with founding the People's Arts Movement by joining hands with Mantarō Kubota and Kaoru Osanai. An important figure in Kamakura literary circles, Masao Kume helped found the Kamakura Carnival as well as the Kamakura P.E.N. Club.

 19 
Saneatsu Mushanokōji
(Japanese Novelist, Playwright, Poet and Philosopher)
Saneatsu Mushanokōji
1
Birthdate: May 12, 1885
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kojimachi, Tokyo, Japan
Died: April 9, 1976

Born into an aristocratic family, Saneatsu Mushanokōji was well-educated but left university without graduating, to begin writing instead. He co-founded the journal Shirakaba. A believer of humanistic optimism, he penned novels such as A Happy Man. A skilled painter, too, he was known for his still lifes. He wrote poems, too.

 20 
Junji Kinoshita
(Playwright)
Junji Kinoshita
1
Birthdate: August 2, 1914
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Hongō, Tokyo
Died: October 30, 2006
 21 
Kawatake Mokuami
(Dramatist)
Kawatake Mokuami
1
Birthdate: March 1, 1816
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan
Died: January 22, 1893
 22 
Nanboku Tsuruya
(Dramatist)
Nanboku Tsuruya
0
Birthdate: 1755 AD
Birthplace: Edo, Tokyo, Japan
Died: December 22, 1829
 23 
Hideji Hōjō
(Japanese Author, Novelist, and Playwright)
Hideji Hōjō
0
Birthdate: November 7, 1902
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ōsaka, Japan
Died: May 19, 1996

One of the pioneers of the Japanese popular theater, Japanese author and playwright Hideji Hōjō was regarded as The Emperor. He quit his job in the railways to become a full-time author. He also simplified the kabuki format of plays and popularized the Shinpa style of theater.

 24 
Sakurada Jisuke I
(Dramatist who created more than 120 plays and at least 100 dance dramas)
Sakurada Jisuke I
0
Birthdate: 1734 AD
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan
Died: 1806 AD