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Philip Kan Gotanda

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playwright, filmmaker

Philip Gotanda

Diane Takei




Philip Kan Gotanda BOMB Magazine Philip Kan Gotanda by David Henry Hwang

December 17, 1951 (age 72) Stockton, California (

Notable works
The WashYankee Dawg You Die

Notable awards
Guggenheim FellowshipNEA FellowshipRockefeller Playwriting Award

University of California, Hastings College of the Law (1978)

Ballad of Yachiyo, The Wash

The Wash, Life Tastes Good, The Kiss, The Other Barrio

Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts, US & Canada

Yankee dawg you die, Fish head soup and other plays, No cherry blossoms

Similar People
Nobu McCarthy, Sab Shimono, Michael Toshiyuki Uno, Greg Watanabe, Kelvin Han Yee

Cal at sundance 2013 meet philip kan gotanda playwright filmmaker and uc berkeley professor

Philip Kan Gotanda (born December 17, 1951) is an American playwright and filmmaker. Much of his work deals with Asian American issues and experiences.


Philip Kan Gotanda philipkangotanda WELCOME

2007 philip kan gotanda interview


Philip Kan Gotanda Playwright Philip Kan Gotanda39s new role UC Berkeley

Over the last three decades Gotanda has composed many plays designed to broaden theater in America. Through his plays and advocacy, he has been instrumental in bringing stories of Asians in the United States to mainstream American theater, as well as to Europe and Asia. The creator of one of the largest bodies of Asian American-themed work, Gotanda's plays and films are studied and performed at universities and schools across the USA.

Philip Kan Gotanda usasiansarticlestripodcompicphilipkangotand

Gotanda wrote the text and directed the production of Maestro Kent Nagano’s Manzanar: An American Story, an original symphonic work with narration. His newest work, After the War, premiered at the American Conservatory Theatre in March 2007. After the War chronicles San Francisco’s Japantown in the late 1940s, when Japanese Americans returning from the internment camps encountered a flourishing African American jazz scene. A Japanese translation of his play, Sisters Matsumoto, opened in Tokyo with the Mingei Geikidan Company.

Gotanda is also a respected independent filmmaker; his works are seen in film festivals around the world. His most recent film, Life Tastes Good, was originally presented at the Sundance Film Festival and can presently be seen on the Independent Film Channel. Along with executive producers Dale Minami and Diane Takei, he is currently developing his newest film, Inscrutable Grin, with their production company, Joe Ozu Films.

Gotanda holds a law degree from Hastings College of Law, studied pottery in Japan with the late Hiroshi Seto, and resides in Berkeley with his actress-producer wife Diane Takei. His play collections include No More Cherry Blossoms and Fish Soup and Other Plays, published by the University of Washington Press. Other published plays include The Wash, The Dream of Kitamura, Day Standing on its Head, Yohen, and The Wind Calls Mary.

Awards Gotanda has received include the Guggenheim, Pew Trust, 3 Rockefeller, Lila Wallace, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts-Theater Communications Playwriting Award, A PEN Center West Award, LA Music Center Award, 2007 Japan Society of Northern California Award, A Chinese For Affirmative Action Award, NJHAS, City of Stockton Arts Award, East West Players, Asian American Theater Company Life Time Achievement, 2 California Civil Liberties Public Education Program, 2009 MAP Fund Creative Exploration Grant, 2008 Granada Arts Theater Fellowship, UC Berkeley Arts Center Fellow in Theater, Sundance Theater Fellow, Sundance Film Fellow Program.


Gotanda, a leading American playwright and one of the most prolific playwrights in Asian American theatre. Theaters where Gotanda's works have been produced include American Conservatory Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Campo Santo+Intersection, East West Players, Manhattan Theatre Club, Mark Taper Forum, Missouri Rep, New York Shakespeare Festival, Playwrights Horizons, Asian American Theater Company, Robey Theatre Company, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, and South Coast Repertory.

He has been Artist-in-Residence at Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley, and Berkeley Repertory Theatre.


  • The Avocado Kid (musical)
  • Song For a Nisei Fisherman (play with songs)
  • "Bullet Headed Birds" (play with songs)
  • American Tattoo
  • The Wash
  • Yankee Dawg You Die
  • The Dream Of Kitamura
  • Fish Head Soup
  • Day Standing on Its Head
  • Yohen
  • "in the dominion of night" (full-length spoken word play. Performed with the retro jazz ensemble, The New Orientals
  • The Wind Cries Mary
  • The Ballad of Yachiyo
  • Sisters Matsumoto
  • A Fist Of Roses (in collaboration with Campo Santo)
  • floating weeds
  • Manzanar: An American Story (original symphonic piece with spoken narrative text - librettist)
  • After The War (revised into "After The War Blues" in 2014)
  • Under The Rainbow (evening of two one acts: Natalie Wood Is Dead; White Manifesto or Got Rice?)
  • "#5 The Angry Red Drum"
  • "Child is Father to Man" a short play presented by Silk Road Rising as part of "The DNA Trail"
  • "Apricots of Andujar" (chamber opera - librettist)
  • "The Life And Times of Chang and Eng - The Inescapable Truth Of Love That Binds"
  • "Love In American Times"
  • "Body Of Eyes" (song cycle - lyricist)
  • "The Wash" (Adaptation with a Jamaican American Family)
  • Films

  • The Wash (1988) — screenplay
  • The Kiss (1992 short) — director, screenplay, actor
  • Drinking Tea (short) — director, screenplay
  • Life Tastes Good (1999) — director, screenplay, actor
  • The Other Barrio (2015) — actor
  • Critical studies

    As of March 2008:

    1. From Ethnic to Mainstream Theater: Negotiating 'Asian American' in the Plays of Philip Kan Gotanda By: Dunbar, Ann-Marie; American Drama, 2005 Winter; 14 (1): 15-31.
    2. Die Imaginierung ethnischer Weltsicht im neueren amerikanischen Drama By: Grabes, Herbert. IN: Schlote and Zenzinger, New Beginnings in Twentieth-Century Theatre and Drama: Essays in Honour of Armin Geraths. Trier, Germany: Wissenschaftlicher; 2003. pp. 327–44
    3. Philip Kan Gotanda By: Randy Barbara Kaplan. IN: Liu, Asian American Playwrights: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook. Greenwood, 2002. 69-88.
    4. Philip Kan Gotanda By: Maczynska, Magdalena. IN: Wheatley, Twentieth-Century American Dramatists, Fourth Series. Detroit, MI: Thomson Gale; 2002. pp. 116–27
    5. Asian American Theatre History from the 1960s to 1990s: Actors, Playwrights, Communities, and Producers By: Kim, Esther Songie; Dissertation Abstracts International, Section A: The Humanities and Social Sciences, 2001 Feb; 61 (8): 2998-99. Ohio State U, 2000.
    6. Yankee Dawg You Die by Philip Kan Gotanda By: Cho, Nancy. IN: Wong and Sumida, A Resource Guide to Asian American Literature. New York, NY: Modern Language Association of America; 2001. pp. 185–92
    7. Philip Kan Gotanda By: Ito, Robert B.. IN: Cheung, Words Matter: Conversations with Asian American Writers. Honolulu, HI: U of Hawaii P, with UCLA Asian American Studies Center; 2000. 402 pp. pp. 173–85
    8. Philip Kan Gotanda By: Hwang, David Henry; BOMB, 1998 Winter; 62: 20-26.
    9. Choice and Chance By: Siegal, Nina; American Theatre, 1996 Feb; 13 (2): 26.
    10. Fish Head Soup and Other Plays By: Omi, Michael. Seattle: U of Washington P; 1995.
    11. David Henry Hwang's M. Butterfly and Philip Kan Gotanda's Yankee Dawg You Die: Repositioning Chinese American Marginality on the American Stage By: James S. Moy, Theatre Journal, Vol. 42, No. 1. (Mar., 1990), pp. 48–56.


    Philip Kan Gotanda Wikipedia

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