――What is your opinion on the current movement among national universities to reduce and streamline liberal arts faculties?
I feel that the recent trend is to highly value practical studies such as engineering, medicine, and economics. These branches of study are all very rational. They can create a huge amount of profit from a small resources. The amount of information you have in these areas of study can lead to social inequality.
I think drama is the best way to enhance and increase communication. When creating drama, people from various backgrounds with different values have to put their ideas together in a short period of time. If rationality is all you need in communication, there would be no such things as jokes or small talks. So, I think when things become too rational, it can be quite dangerous.
I believe that literature and art can give answers or clues to questions that medical or natural science can’t solve.
The UK government has promoted drama education since 1945. They believe that children can enhance communication and learn to accept and admire each other through this education. This idea hasn’t been taken into Japan yet.
Japan is probably the only developed country that hasn’t made drama a compulsory subject in elementary school education.
――I remember you told us early on that Osaka University is the only national university with drama major.
Tokyo University of Arts has recently established a drama course too, but there are still only a few among Japan. Professor Oriza Hirata, who teaches at Tokyo University of Arts and Osaka University, says there are two reasons why drama didn’t grow so much in Japan.
One reason is that post-war drama had some connection with the leftist movement. Japan didn’t have a regime change for a long period of time and the Liberal Democratic Party stayed in power. Drama connected with the leftist movement was seen as resentment art. When there was a change in regime, a non-government party would ask people to vote for them instead of supporting drama, and situations would change in places like Europe or America. Drama was sometimes for the ruling party, but it was always a kind of art that emerged from the bottom, and never got enough financial support from the government.
Another reason is that people didn’t want it. After the war, everyone wanted to be equal. During the time of rapid economic growth, fathers only needed to be “salarymen”, and they didn’t even need to be nurturing dads. That could be another reason why the society wasn’t in the mood to create drama.
I want to make the most out of drama and so have recently started to try out workshops at high schools and companies.