Atomic bombing survivors’ story by Japan’s leading playwright brought to Los Angeles by American producer

Face of Jizo: Toshi Toda, left, and Fay Kato

“The Face of Jizo” played by Toshi Toda, left, as father Takezo, and Fay Kato as his daughter Mitsue, brings voices of atomic bombing survivors to audiences in Silver Lake. (Cultural News Photo)

Cultural News, 2010 September Issue

The play “The Face of Jizo,” depicting a young survivor’s agony three years after the atomic blast destroyed the city of Hiroshima, was brought by Benjamin Pohlmeier, managing artistic director of the Junction Theatre, to a space on the second floor of the Barbarella Bar in Silver Lake for six nights between August 6 and August 15.

The original title “Chichi to kuraseba” (Living with my father) written by Japan’s leading playwright Hisashi Inoue, was translated by American born Australian playwright Roger Pulvers who is currently living in Tokyo, and  premiered in English in London by the Ichiza Theatre Company from October 23 – November 10, 2007.

It was Benjamin’s younger brother who was in the audience at the London theater who told Benjamin about the play.

“To die in Hiroshima was the natural thing to do. To survive here is unnatural” was a common bombing survivor’s reaction in Hiroshima. “The Face of Jizo” looks at the life of a young survivor and how she overcame her survivor’s guilt feelings to eventually permit herself a chance to rediscover happiness.

With a simple one-act setting on the stage, the role of a young librarian, Mitsue was played by Fay Kato, and Takezo, Mitsue’s father, was played by Toshi Toda.

Told only through conversations between father and a daughter, “The Face of Jizo” not only exposes the fact of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and its aftermath to audiences who never have experienced war but also gives audiences relief from the agonies of war.

In conjunction with “The Face of Jizo,” the play “The Einstein Project,” tracking how Albert Einstein came to help create the atomic weapon, was presented by the Junction Theatre on the same ticket.