Open-air Performing Arts Festival 2016 A program commissioned by the French National Museum,
Musée du quai Branly in Paris, to mark its 10th anniversary

The White Hare of Inaba-Navajo

“Daikoku and the White Hare in Inaba” by KATSUSHIKA Hokusai
Photograph ©2015 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Program Information

Genre / Country Theatre / JAPAN, FRANCE
Dates 2 May at 18:30, 3 May at 18:30, 4 May at 18:30, 5 May at 18:30
Venue At Momijiyama Garden Square, Sumpujo Park
Duration Undecided (less than 120 minutes)
Language In Japanese with English subtitles
Conception and direction MIYAGI Satoshi
(May, 2015 at Sumpujo Park)
© HIRAO Masashi
(May, 2015 at Sumpujo Park)
(February, 2013 at the Musée du quai Branly)


SPAC’s new production of the fantastical musical play “The White Hare of Inaba-Navajo” will be presented as part of this year’s Open-air Performing Arts Festival ahead of its official world premiere in France in June.

While “Inaba no Shiro-Usagi” (“The White Hare of Inaba”) is a famous Japanese fable, a similar story was also widely known among Native American peoples, and in this new play MIYAGI Satoshi and his SPAC team trace that linkage based on a bold hypothesis proposed by the great French social anthropologist Claude LÉVI-STRAUSS (who died, aged 90, in 2009).
Commissioned by the Musée du quai Branly in Paris to commemorate its 10th anniversary, this work sees MIYAGI putting all his energies into creating an ambitious musical style especially suited to a festival staging of this work — a style through which he aims “to deeply explore a quite different culture and the dynamics of that quest.”
Now, ahead of its Paris premiere, SPAC will stage an open-air “preview” of “The White Hare of Inaba-Navajo” in Shizuoka City’s central Sumpujo Park, a splendid venue familiar to all those who saw “Mahabharata – Nalacharitam” there in last year’s festival — a work of his that MIYAGI also presented as the opening performance of the Musée du quai Branly’s new Théâtre Claude LÉVI-STRAUSS in 2006.

Background of “The White Hare of Inaba-Navajo”

In the age-old Japanese fable “Inaba no Shiro-Usagi,” one story tells how a divinity named Ōkuninushi no Mikoto cleverly lined up crocodiles to make a bridge so a white hare could cross a river between two places called Okinoshima and Inaba — but then just before it reaches Inaba the hare meets a white hare that is crying because it had been skinned by the crocodiles.
Although the hare’s tale is just a small part of the Japanese fable “Kojiki,” by the time it crossed the Pacific to North America, the tale told of two hero brothers who crossed a river by stepping on snakes (instead of crocodiles) until one of them is swallowed by a serpent.
With certain similarities that are quite striking, and commonalities in their general outline, even though the story became more condensed in North America with the lapse of time, LÉVI-STRAUSS brilliantly succeeded in developing an enormously imaginative hypothesis through which to extract the essence of the fable.

Director’s Profile


MIYAGI Satoshi
Born in Tokyo in 1959. Director. General Artistic Director of SPAC – Shizuoka Performing Arts Center. Studied aesthetics under ODASHIMA Yushi, WATANABE Moriaki, and HIDAKA Hachiro at Tokyo University, and founded the new theatre company KU NA’UKA in 1990. Through him being active both in Japan and internationally, MIYAGI’s directing, which fuses contemporary textual interpretations with physical techniques and patterns of Asian theatre, has received high acclaim both domestically and abroad. MIYAGI was appointed as the General Artistic Director of SPAC in April 2007. Along with presentations of his own works, he invites pieces that sharply cut away at modern society from regions all over the world. In addition, he has started a new project aimed at the youth of Shizuoka, putting efforts into presenting theatre as “a window to view the world.” In July 2014, he was invited to the Festival d’Avignon and received excellent reviews for his open-air staging of “Mahabharata – Nalacharitam” at a huge disused quarry known as “la carrière de Bourbon.” Best known for such pieces as “Medea,” “Peer Gynt,” etc. MIYAGI received the 3rd Asahi Performing Arts Award in 2004 and the 2nd Asahi Beer Art Award in 2005.

Company Profile

Shizuoka Performing Arts Center
SPAC was founded in 1995 by the Shizuoka prefectural government and commenced its full-fledged activities in 1997 under the direction of SUZUKI Tadashi, its first General Artistic Director. As a pioneer of publicly funded performing-arts organizations in Japan, SPAC retains its own staff of actors, technical and production staff, who are based at its own venues and facilities. The mission of SPAC is not only to create original pieces, but also to invite progressive artistic companies and creators to Shizuoka and to develop human resources seeking expression through the performing arts. Since April 2007, when he was appointed as the General Artistic Director, MIYAGI Satoshi has led SPAC in a buoyant new phase of development and expansion.


◎Starting 30 minutes before each performance, there will be a pre-performance talk.

Presentation at the Musée du quai Branly

Image of Paris tour poster
(9-19 June, 2016 )

Just as Musée du Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Centre Pompidou, Musée du quai Branly is one of the most significant museums in France. In 2006, “Mahabharata – Nalacharitam”(Directed by MIYAGI Satoshi) was widely acclaimed as an opening performance of the Musée du quai Branly’s new Théâtre Claude LÉVI-STRAUSS. Celebrating the 10th anniversary of Musée du quai Branly, new production “The White Hare of Inaba-Navajo” will be presented this June.

Cast / Staff

Conception and direction: MIYAGI Satoshi
Text: collective writing of KUBOTA Azumi and the troops
Music: TANAKAWA Hiroko
Space design: KIZ Junpei
Costume design: TAKAHASHI Kayo
Lighting design: OSAKO Koji

Performed by AKAMATSU Naomi, ABE Kazunori, ISHII Moemi, OUCHI Yoneji, OHTAKA Kouichi, KATO Yukio, SAKAKIBARA Yuumi, SAKURAUCHI Yu, SATO Yuzu, SUZUKI Mariko, DAIDOMUMON Yuya, TAKEISHI Morimasa, TATENO Momoyo, TAMOTSU Kana, TERAUCHI Ayako, NOGUCHI Syunsuke, HONDA Maki, MAKIYAMA Yudai, Micari, MISHIMA Keita, MORIYAMA Fuyuko, YAMAMOTO Miyuki, YOKOYAMA Hisashi, YOSHIUE Soichiro, YOSHIMI Ryo, WATANABE Takahiko

* FUSE Asuka has been cancelled to play, thank you for your understanding.

A creation of the Shizuoka Performing Arts Center in coproduction with the Musée du quai Branly
Organization: Committee of Open-air Performing Arts Festival

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