Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Adventures of Dogen

There’s a show on in Tokyo at the moment called “The Adventures of Dogen”. It’s a musical based on the life of a 13th-century Japanese monk Dogen. Dogen is famous in Japan for establishing the Soto Zen sect here.

The role of Dogen in the show is split between one actress and one actor. The actress is Chiaki Kuriyama. She plays Dogen as a youth. She’s well-known in Japan and appeared in the movie Kill Bill. Another well-known Japanese actor named Hiroshi Abe plays the older Dogen. That’s Chiaki and Hiroshi in the photo with their wigs on.

As part of his role, Hiroshi has to do Zazen on stage for 40 minutes! When he was asked what it felt like, he said “It’s a battle with wicked thoughts and drowsiness.” I know what he means.

Anyway, the show is being held in Theatre Cocoon at Bunkamura in Shibuya. Looks like the cheapest seats (called "Cocoon seats" by the way) are 5,000 yen.

Might be worth a look. I just wonder what Dogen would say?


  1. Peter,

    "Dogen Zenji Superstar"... it had to happen. Sounds interesting, and quite strange.

    Hope all's well for ye.

    All the best,


  2. Hi Harry,

    Not quite sure if Dogen is star status in Japan, but most people here have probably heard of him anyway.

    Be interesting to see the show, but I probably won't get to it.




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