Junior Writers Reporting

Theater group of former students from Funairi High School performs A-bomb plays

A theater group based in Naka Ward, called “Theatrical Company F,” was established in 1980 and its members are former students of the drama club at Funairi High School, also in Naka Ward. The group was founded so that students of the school could continue their theater activities after graduating. All former members of the drama club are also members of Theatrical Company F, and this membership now numbers about 500, ranging from recent graduates to those who are 60 years old.

When the group is preparing a production, members who are available gather for the project. When they performed the play “Atara Sakurano...2013” on August 13, more than 20 people took part.

To date, they have presented 11 plays. More than 40 years ago, the high school drama club began performing plays about the atomic bombing under the leadership of Takahiro Ito, 74, an advisor to the club. Since he left the school, as principal, in 1999, the group has been performing plays created by Mr. Ito.

Atsushi Mishima, 30, the leader of the group, played the main role in “Atara Sakurano…2013” when he was in high school. At the time, however, the club was unable to advance the play at a competition in the Chugoku Region. “We weren’t able to get it together back then,” he said. “But we thought it would be interesting to stage it again now.”

In fact, when Mr. Mishima was in high school, he was hesitant to appear in a play about the atomic bombing. But he eventually realized: “I shouldn’t avoid being in this play because I don’t know much about the atomic bombing. Rather, it’s important that I try to learn more about it.” And so he decided to take on the role to help convey the A-bombing on stage.

Toshihiko Katayama, 60, a former leader of the drama club at Funairi High School, said, “The appeal of drama involves putting together the power of everyone taking part to produce a single piece of work.”

The year 2015 will mark the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. “If we can get enough people together, I would like to stage one of Mr. Ito’s plays,” Mr. Mishima said with enthusiasm. (Arata Kono, 16 and Moe Nakano, 15)

(Originally published on September 10, 2013)