TERA in Kyoto

As part of the TERASIA project, the team in Japan (TERASIA Japan) recreated Tera, which premiered in 2018 at the Jōdo School temple Saihō-ji in Tokyo, into a new piece titled TERA in Kyoto. It was performed in March 2021 at the Rinzai School temple Kōshō-ji in Kyoto. Join us as we travel across two regions and two schools of Buddhism over three years—a journey in which we explore our beliefs and spirituality as it exists in contemporary Japan, from the Pure Land to Hell.

Venue and Dates

Performance Venue: Rinzai School Kōshō-ji, Nirvana Hall
Performance Dates: March 26 to 28, 2021


The protagonist, Mitsuko Kyōgoku, is a daughter of the temple. In the Nirvana Hall, where the Ksitigarbha (“Jizo” in Japanese) is enshrined, she spends her days telling a long, long poem. One day, she ends up journeying through Hell by accident. Starting from Daffodils and Wooden Fish: A Verse Drama (1957) by Jūrō Miyoshi, the play interweaves various Japanese literary works—including the poem “Monks” (1958) by Minoru Yoshioka, the novel Kangaroo Notebook (1991) by Kōbō Abe, and the poem “Monogatari no akuru hi” (“The Day After the Story”) (1961) by Taeko Tomioka—together with sacred texts passed down at the performance venue, Rinzai School Kōshō-ji, along with YouTube sermons by the temple. The story unfolds through this kaleidoscopic imagery in a “spiritual spectacle.”


Directed by Yukari Sakata
Performer: Miho Inatsugu
Music: Kyojun Tanaka
Dramaturg: Maho Watanabe

Costumes: Kyoko Fujitani (FAIFAI)
Costumes Cooperation: Phablic×Kazui
Production Coordinator: Aki Miyatake
Photography: Keita Kitagawa
Video Documentation: ON-EI (Mika Sasaki, Yuya Shito, Misaki Kuroi)
Sound:Yuya Shito
Video Editing: Mika Sasaki
English Translation: John Townsend
Subtitling: Sakura Sawashima

Planned and presented by UPN, Ltd.
Special cooperation from Rinzai-shū Kōshō-ji
In cooperation with Kyoto Art Center Artists-in-Studios Program
Grant: The Japan Foundation Asia Center Grant Program for Enhancing People-to-People Exchange
Concept: TERASIA

Inspired by:
Daffodils and Wooden Fish: A Verse Drama (1957) by Jūrō Miyoshi
Kangaroo Notebook (1991) by Kōbō Abe
“[Morning Sermons] Ep.6 Crossing the Ocean – Aboard Hamakaze” (2020) from “The Power of Zazen: Oshō’s Chillaxing Practice TV” on Rinzai-shū Kōshō-ji Official YouTube Channel

Quotations from:
“monks” by Minoru Yoshioka (1958) – Translation by Hiroaki Sato in “Lilac Garden: Poems of Minoru Yoshioka” (Chicago Review Press, 1976)
“Gyaku-on-jin-shū” in The Kōshō-ji Sutra Book
“Monogatari no akuru hi” (“The Day After the Story”) (1961) by Taeko Tomioka

“What You Don’t Know About Eisai and the Rinzai School” (2014) Editorial Supervision by Tetsuo Yamaori

Review and Critique

  1. TERA in Kyoto – E tu, chi sei?|Cristian Cicogna
  2. Pickup (2021/4/15) |TERA in Kyoto|Rina Tanaka