The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Japanese Drama Database
Japanese Title: Nippon Uwozu
English Title: Nippon Wars
Author: KAWAMURA, Takeshi
Author's Profile: Born in 1959. Playwright and director. In 1980 when still a student at Meiji University, he launched The Third Erotica Theatre Company, whose performance style is characterized by violence and aggression. He received the prestigious Kishida Drama Prize for "The Shinjuku Version of The Tale of Eight Dogs" in 1986.
The English version of "Nippon Wars" was produced in 1990 with a cast of American and Australian actors. In 2001 the revival version was based on the original production in 1984, while a new 2001 version was also produced. He wrote "The Bullfrog" for the shingeki troupe, the Bungakuza Theatre Company, in 2000. Many of his plays, such as "Lost Babylon" (1999), "Hamlet Clone" (2000), and "The Straw Heart" (2001), have been translated into English and French and have been performed as drama readings at international arts festivals.
His major works include "Nippon Wars," "The Shinjuku Version of The Tale of Eight Dogs," and "Hamlet Clone."
First Performance:   1984
Performance time:  
Acts / Scenes: 1 act
Cast: 14 (6 men, 8 women)

Set in a world where humans and androids have become indistinguishable, this play depicts young conscripts undergoing military training in a submarine.

In a futuristic world, the United Capitalist Republics of Nippon (U.C.R.N.) is engaged in a world war. A young man, O', is about to receive military training in a submarine called the "Blue Whale" and be sent out to the battlefront. He is suffering from amnesia and can only remember that a year ago he had deserted the "Rebel Canary," an anti-government organization.

Unable to understand his predicament, O' refuses to follow the training leader's directions. Knocked unconscious with a stun gun, he dreams of being back in his "Rebel Canary" days. On awakening, he meets General Q, the commander of the submarine, who shows him the training method called "Program." A new method devised by Sue Ellen, the controlling intelligence of the submarine, it requires trainees to learn 200 lessons. In Lesson "Conversation," the neuro-kinetic energy of the trainees is harnessed to explode an enemy vessel.

The trainees are guided by an experienced battle companion called "I" and get a glimpse of the true nature of Sue Ellen. Having lost her body in warfare, she exists only as an intelligence. O' discovers that the other trainees are androids with memories preselected and implanted by government authorities. They do not possess personal identity. Nonetheless, O' leads them onto rebellion and destruction of Sue Ellen. The seemingly successful revolution turns out to be part of the Program training, and after the lesson has run its course, the androids keel over on the spot.
O' finally assassinates General Q. O' learns that he is an android himself, but unwilling to believe that information, he shoots himself in the head. He fails to die. Together with the other androids on the submarine, he sets off to the Japanese islands to fight "his war." To the roaring sound of explosives, the figures of the androids are absorbed into the light that spreads across the stage.