This paper is a thesis that clarifies the meaning of disaster plays, mainly by analyzing the theatre and earthquake disaster literature of the Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake, specifically the “Stage Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake.” Earthquake disaster literature often draws from the suffering, recovery, and hope of the afflicted areas and affected people.
However, in earthquake dramas, the earthquake itself is the main character, and the earthquake disaster is often reproduced on the stage so that it can be felt by the audience. As a result, audiences and non-victims who are normally bystanders, watching other people suffer after disasters, can experience and understand earthquakes more accurately. It can be said that this is the biggest feature of portraying disasters in the theater.
In addition, the author of this play, Takaya Okamoto, changed the ending when the play was reproduced. At the premiere, the play simply conveyed the message of the reconstruction of Kobe, the affected area of the Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake. The reproduction of the play coincided with the first anniversary of the Chuetsu Earthquake, and so the scenes of the victims of Kobe were changed into scenes of people rushing to provide relief supplies to the afflicted areas of the Chuetsu Earthquake. This indicates that the memory of the disaster of the people of Kobe, and the intention of reconstruction were not forgotten, but can be applied to the next disaster.