Japanese Playwright Betsuyaku Dies at 82

Society Culture

Tokyo, March 10 (Jiji Press)--Japanese playwright Minoru Betsuyaku, known as the pioneer of theater of the absurd in Japan, died of pneumonia at a Tokyo hospital on March 3. He was 82.

Born in Hsinking, the capital of Manchuria and now China's Changchun, Betsuyaku was influenced by French playwright Samuel Beckett and started writing plays when he was a student at Waseda University.

He attracted attention for his play of "Zo" (The Elephant), which features a hibakusha, or an atomic bomb survivor, of the western Japan city of Hiroshima, which was devastated by the August 1945 U.S. atomic bombing.

In 1968, he won the 13th Kunio Kishida drama award for his plays "Match Uri no Shojo" (The Little Match Girl) and "Akai Tori no Iru Fukei" (A Scene with a Red Bird).

Betsuyaku, who published over 140 plays, continued to work on the literary genre in his final year while fighting Parkinson's disease.

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Jiji Press