Japan-Korea Joint Production "Asia Hot Spring" Performance in Korea

Stage photograph of Asia Hot Spring
Photographed by Masahiko Yako

On a once idyllic island somewhere in Asia, people lived by old conventions and traditional practices. But when rumors spread of the discovery of a hot spring on the island, the rustic life of the residents is spoiled by material interests. Amidst all the commotion, Daichi stubbornly refuses to sell his property. Meanwhile, Kakeru and his brother Ayumu visit the island with ambitions to erect a tourist resort. Kakeru starts negotiating with Daichi to sell his land, but . . . .

Asia Hot Spring is a joint production between two major playhouses in Japan and Korea - the New National Theatre, Tokyo (NNTT), and the Seoul Arts Center. The NNTT has previously produced plays that focus on Japan-Korea relations: Across the River in May depicted the two countries in the 21st century, and Yakiniku Dragon showed the Korean society in Japan around 1970. This time, Asia Hot Spring turns out to be totally different from these previous plays - it is a festive play with music, showing the incidents that arise on a fictitious Asian island swarming with rumors of a new hot spring. The Japan Foundation will co-host this ambitious play performance in Korea.

The play was newly written by Chong Wishing, the prominent author of Yakiniku Dragon that moved and brought laughter to Japanese and Korean audiences alike. The performance will be directed by Sohn Jin-Chaek, artistic director of the National Theater Company of Korea, who previously directed the opening ceremony of the 2002 FIFA World Cup. The dynamic, festive performance will abound with music and actors from Japan and Korea.

Eleven top actors from each country will be performing: from Japan, Masanobu Katsumura, Songha, Tetsuya Chiba, Masayo Umezawa, to name a few, and from Korea, Kim Chintai and others. Both languages will be used, creating a celebrative performance on a spacious stage.

The Tokyo performance was held from May 10 to 26, 2013 at the NNTT, receiving wide acclaim.

Schedule: Tuesday, June 11 to Sunday, June 16, 2013

Time 7:30 p.m. (Tuesday to Friday), 2:00 p.m./ 6:30 p.m. (Saturday), 3:00 p.m. (Sunday)
Venue Seoul Arts Center, CJ Towol Theater (Seoul, Korea)
Hosted by Seoul Arts Center, National Theater Company of Korea
Co-hosted by New National Theatre, Tokyo, The Japan Foundation
Produced by Seoul Arts Center, National Theater Company of Korea, New National Theatre, Tokyo
Supported by Public Information and Cultural Center of the Embassy of Japan in Korea

Chong Wishing

[Playwright] Chong Wishing

Chong received the 38th Kishida Drama Award in 1993 for the play Za Terayama (The Terayama). He then ventured into the film industry, receiving numerous awards such as the Kinema Junpo Film Award for the screenplays Tsuki wa Docchi ni Deteiru (All Under the Moon) and Ai o Kou Hito (Begging for Love). He also showed talent for writing television and radio scripts, and was awarded the 2001 National Arts Festival Grand Prize for the TV drama Boku wa Ashita Ju-hachi ni Naru (I'll Be Eighteen Tomorrow). Chong contributes plays to the Bungakuza Theater and Opera Theater Konnyakuza, while also writing and directing for the production group Umi no Circus. For the NNTT he has written Tatoeba No ni Saku Hana no Yo ni (Like a Flower Blooming on the Moor), and also written and directed Yakiniku Dragon and Sumire's Hair Salon. Yakiniku Dragon brought him the 16th Yomiuri Theater Award for Outstanding Director, the 12th Tsuruya Nanboku Memorial Award, the 43rd Kinokuniya Theatre Award, and the 59th Art Encouragement Prize from Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

Sohn Jin-Chaek

[Director] Sohn Jin-Chaek

Sohn is well known around the world as a director who brings traditional Korean performing arts methods into contemporary theater works in effective ways. He studied at the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1982 and made his directing debut in 1984 with Seoul Maltugi. He then established the Michoo Theatre Company in 1986. "Madang-Nori," a Korean performing arts festival he organized from 1981 to 2011, attracted over 200,000 theater goers, and became a popular viewing pastime enjoyed during the Korean New Year's season. Sohn has also directed national events such as the Han River Festival of arts and culture that accompanied the 1988 Seoul Olympics, and the opening ceremony of the 2002 FIFA World Cup. He has blossomed as a festival director, and has served as artistic director of many performing arts festivals. Currently, Sohn is artistic director of the National Theater Company of Korea. He directed Arial Dorfman's The Other Side at the NNTT in 2004.

Masanobu Katsumura

[Actor] Masanobu Katsumura

Katsumura began his acting career with Ninagawa Studio, before moving to Daisan Butai theater group in 1987. He was one of its main members until he left the group in 1992. Katsumura has played a wide variety of roles on stage, film, and television. Recent appearances on stage include The Tragedy of Coriolanus, Omote Ura Gennai Kaeru Gassen (The Different Lives of Hiraga Gennai), The Coast of Utopia, The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, Aah Koya (Ah, Wilderness), Cymbeline, and Boku no Yotsuya Kwaidan (My Yotsuya Ghost Story). He also serves as MC for a soccer TV program called "Foot & Brain."


[Actor] Songha

After a period with theater companies Hyottoko Rambu and Kita-ku Tsuka Kohei Gekidan, Songha played the role of Angel in Angels in America, directed by Robert Allan Ackerman in 2004, leaving a strong impact on the viewing audience. He won the 2008 ACA National Arts Festival New Artist Award and the 18th Yomiuri Theater Award for Outstanding Actor. His main appearances on stage are Shun-kin, Blue/Orange, The Character, Iliad, Minami he (Southbound), Crazy Honey, Musical: Hamlet, and Bring Me My Chariot of Fire. His performances at the NNTT include A Midsummer Night's Dream and Salome.

Tetsuya Chiba

[Actor] Tetsuya Chiba

Chiba was a founding member of the stage event project group called The GAZIRA. He has played various roles in many plays, and in recent years showed his talent for directing, winning the 14th and 16th Yomiuri Theater Award for Outstanding Director. Other recent theater directions include Blue/Orange and Hogiuta. Chiba has also acted in performances such as Seven Souls in the Skull Castle, Hand-down Kitchen, Topdog/Underdog (awarded the 20th Yomiuri Theater Award for Outstanding Actor); NNTT performances include The Other Side, THE LOFT Tainai (The Womb, awarded the 5th Yomiuri Theater Award for Outstanding Actor, and the 39th Kinokuniya Theatre Award in the individual category), Yakiniku Dragon, and many others.

Masayo Umezawa

[Actor] Masayo Umezawa

Following a period at the Bungakuza Theater, Umezawa joined the performance group MODE until 1994. She received the 2nd Yomiuri Theater Award for Outstanding Actress with theater group Komatsuza's The Face of Jizo, and the 40th Kinokuniya Theatre Award in the individual category with Hakone Gora Hotel performed at the NNTT. Recent appearances on stage include Nanbu Kosoku Doro (The Southern Thruway), Boku no Yotsuya Kwaidan (My Yotsuya Ghost Story), and Piaf; and at the NNTT, Kamiyacho Sakura Hotel, A Streetcar Named Desire, Pikadon Kijimuna, Namida no Tani Ginga no Oka (The Valley of Tears, the Hill of the Milky Way), Mother Courage and Her Children, Tatoeba No ni Saku Hana no Yo ni (Like a Flower Blooming on the Moor), Enemy, Rain, and others.

Kim Chintai

[Actor] Kim Chintai

Kim was born in 1951 in Gyeongsangnam-do, Korea. After dropping out of Chung-Ang University, he debuted as an actor with the play The Fire Raisers in 1972. Kim has appeared in numerous plays such as Hamlet and Antigone, and musicals including Fiddler on the Roof, The Last Empress, Romeo and Juliet, and Porgy and Bess. He has also played many roles in TV dramas including Nodaji, Dae Jo Yeong, and Gwanggaeto, the Great Conqueror.
Throughout his acting career, Kim has won a lot of awards in Korea for his outstanding performances.

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