Tiger of Malaya

By Hiro Kanagawa

It is September, 1945. Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita, the notorious “Tiger of Malaya,” is on trial for war crimes carried out under his command in the waning days of the Pacific War – Yamashita’s reputation leaves no room for doubt – he is a monster.

Assigned to lead his defence are two lawyers from the U.S. Army Legal Corps: a world-weary, Old School Southerner, and an idealistic Ivy League-educated Jew. They are joined by a Japanese-American translator, eager to prove her loyalty to the U.S.

As the defence team struggles to reconcile the evidence of the atrocities with a man they come to know and admire, Yamashita himself is haunted by a Filipino witness who challenges him to confront the truth of his personal culpability. What emerges is a complex and moving examination of the hypocrisies of war, the subjectivity of historical memory, and the vagaries of individual fate.

“Both an impressive debut and the best new play at Factory in some time.”

The National PostRobert Cushman

“A gripping tale of cultural clashes, racism and governmental responsibility.”

The BoardsGinger MacDonald

“Through Kanagawa’s revisionist lens we get a fascinating new angle on the horrors and complexities of war, and a deeper understanding of why “military justice” is a classic oxymoron.”

Vancouver PlaysJerry Wasserman

Production Details

3 Male (including one Asian male 50’s or 60’s)

2 Female (both Asian)

Running time: 120 minutes including 1 intermission

By Hiro Kanagawa

Purchase Play Script

Production History

Premiered in a Factory Theatre / NAC English Theatre co-production in 2003, directed by Ken Gass.
Gateway Theatre (Richmond BC) in 2005. Directed by Rachel Ditor.

National English Theatre Poster Design

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