Born in Fukui, west coast of Japan. A gifted pianist in my youth but, when the time came, opted to go to university, not a conservatoire. To a young vibrant mind, the life of a classical pianist, devoting several hours daily to rehearsing, seemed unreasonably monastic.
Graduating from International Christian University, Tokyo, with a BA thesis on The Essence of Kabuki, went to America to study Theatre Arts (Directing, Acting & Choreography) at the School of Fine and Applied Arts, Boston University. Graduated with a Master of Fine Art, directing Federico Garcia Lorca's Blood Wedding. Work experience in US summer theatres. Played the heroine Tsu in Jinji Kinoshita's Twilight Crane at the legendary Provincetown Playhouse, Mass. The most memorable experience of the period was singing The Song of a German Mother in Ed Thommen's Boston production ofThe Private Lives of the Master Race by Bertolt Brecht. Drove across the States to San Francisco, where I took a homebound flight.
On returning to Japan, joined the Gekidan Mingei, a leading left-leaning Tokyo theatre company as assistant director. Shocked to find the still feudalistic culture that ruled this supposedly progressive theatre group. During this period, was also an associate of the Kindai Eikyo Film Association, led then by the film director Kaneto Shindo (The Island, Onibaba). Played the lead role of Mother in their semi-documentary feature film about a severely handicapped child, We, The Human Family.
Returned to the US as a Fulbright scholar and studied with Jan Kott at University of California, Berkeley. The PhD programme in Dramatic Art equipped directors with comprehensive knowledge of theatre history and drama, involving at the same time training in practical aspects such as lighting. During this period performed as Cordelia in a university production of King Lear. My special fields of study for the degree were Sophocles and Samuel Beckett. Researched and wrote a dissertation on The Folk Religious Ritual Origins of Kabuki. The work took me to remote mountainous regions of Japan, where people still perform ancient life-renewal rituals. Kott, then a visiting professor at Berkeley, was inspirational. His critical and radical approach to theatre was indeed eye-opening.
Married a UK physicist and moved to Cambridge, UK. Lecturer in Japanese Theatre and Literature, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (1981-1994). Founded Workshop 5 with the aim of promoting innovative intercultural dramatic works. Organized London International Theatre Symposium Japanese Theatre and the West, in association with the Institute of Contemporary Arts, for Japan Festival 91. Resigned from SOAS in 1994 in order to pursue theatre work full time. Return to web pages for details of selected works.