Citizens of Seoul

Seinendan Theatre Company

Sat–Sun 1–2 October 2022, 19:00
Bakery, the Grotowski Institute
Tickets: 44/55 PLN
Languages: Japanese with Polish and English captions

On 1st October the show will be followed by a discussion with the director hosted by Nikodem Karolak, director of the InlanDimensions International Arts Festival

On 2nd October the show will be followed by a discussion with the director hosted by Prof Tokimasa Sekiguchi, the ambassador of InlanDimensions International Arts Festival 2022

Premiered in 1989, Citizens of Seoul is one of the most important early works of Hirata Oriza and Seinendan. The piece is set in Seoul in 1909, a year before Japan’s so-called ‘annexation’ of Korea, which was in fact a complete colonisation. Citizens of Seoul casually and scrupulously portrays the ordinary everyday life of a Japanese family. In the background lurk the nonchalant arrogance and ridiculous isolation of the colonial ‘rulers’. This piece, which depicts the guilt of the unmalicious, marks the starting point of Hirata Oriza’s and Seinendan’s contemporary colloquial theatre.

The first Japanese tour of Citizens of Seoul took place in 1991. In 1993 the piece was performed in Seoul and Pusan, Korea, as Seinendan’s first overseas production. A Japanese theatre company presented in Korea a piece about the colonial era, written by a Japanese playwright in the Korean language ‒ the 1993 production was a challenge for both Seinendan and the Korean audience.

Like Tokyo Notes, another highly acclaimed Seinendan work, Citizens of Seoul has been repeatedly presented in various regions of Japan for more than 15 years. It has been translated into Korean, English, French and Russian. The sequels to this play, Citizens of Seoul 1919 (2000) and Citizens of Seoul 1929: Graffiti (2006) received critical acclaim, expanding the world of Citizens of Seoul.

In 2005, Frédéric Fisbach, a French director, directed Citizens of Seoul in Japan. Fisbach’s production was officially invited to the Festival d’Avignon in 2006, and the well-structured script was given high praise. Arnaud Meunier, another French director, presented Citizens of Seoul in French in October 2006, at the Théâtre National de Chaillot, the second most prominent theatre in France.


Founded in 1983, the Seinendan Theatre Company pursues a new theatrical style practising Hirata’s‘contemporary colloquial theatre theory’. This theory has greatly influenced the Japanese theatre scene since the 1990s. The company also operates a unit called Seinendan Links, which offers young artists the opportunity to develop their skills, and has produced a number of talented writers and directors. Seinendan started its international collaboration project in 1999. Since then, they have been presenting their shows at theatre festivals including Theater d’Automne, and toured numerous plays internationally in various countries. In 2020 the company moved its base to the city of Toyooka in Hyōgo prefecture, and founded Ebara Riverside Theatre. In Toyooka they create and present plays, conduct workshops in local schools and institutions, organise a theatre festival and run a children’s theatre.

Hirata Oriza is a playwright and director. He is President of the Professional College of Arts and Tourism and the leader of Seinendan. He serves as Artistic Director of Ebara Riverside Theatre and Komaba Agora Theatre. He was born in Tokyo in 1962. In 1995, Hirata won the 39th Kishida Kunio Drama Award with Tokyo Notes. In 2019 he won the 22nd Tsuruya Nanboku Drama Award with Nihon Bungaku Seisui Shi (The Rise and Fall History of Japanese Literature). In 2006, he won the Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award. In 2011, France’s Ministry of Culture honoured Hirata with the Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters. In recent years, he has been conducting international collaborations with different countries, especially France, and in 2016 he wrote and directed a play for the Hamburg State Opera, Stilles Meer – Silent Sea.



Hirata Oriza


Nishio Sachiko, II Producent: Ota Kumiko

Set design (assistant)

Sugiyama Itaru, assistant: Hamazaki Kenji

Stage manager

Nakanishi Takao, Harima Aiko


Mishima Shōko


Nishimoto Aya


Masakane Aya, Assistant: Chen Yenchun


Nagai Hideki, Temmyō Ruriko, Kizaki Yukiko, Ota Hiroshi, Tahara Reiko, Tachikura Yōko, Moriuchi Miyuki, Kibiki Yūko, Ishimatsu Taichi, Morioka Nozomi, Nitta Yuri, Nakato Shō, Fujise Noriko, Yoshida Yo, Nagoya Megumi, Haemori Moe, Itō Taku 

Running time

90 min

Citizens of Seoul is performed in Poland thanks to the financial support of: