Philip Kan Gotanda, Librettist

Philip Kan Gotanda, Librettist

Over the last four decades, librettist Philip Kan Gotanda has specialized in investigating the Japanese American family writing a cycle of works in theater, film, song and opera that chronicle Japanese America from the early 1900s to the present.   Mr. Gotanda holds a law degree from Hastings College of Law and studied pottery in Mashiko, Japan with the late Hiroshi Seto.  Mr. Gotanda is a respected independent filmmaker.  His 3 films: Life Tastes Good, Drinking Tea, The Kiss, all have been official entries at the Sundance Film Festival.  Mr. Gotanda adapted his play, The Wash, into a feature film, directed by Michael Toshiyuki Uno.  The Wash is one of the first films about the Asian American family to have a theatrical release.  A CD of Mr. Gotanda performing his original songs in a 1980 concert with violinist DH Hwang is now available at Yokohama, Ca. Records.  Mr. Gotanda wrote the oratorio for the Kent Nagano piece,  Manzanar: An American Story, an orchestral work about the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans.   Mr. Gotanda is a Guggenheim recipient.  He is presently an inaugural recipient of the Dramatists Guild 2021 Playwrights Legacy Initiative, a two-year award acknowledging Mr. Gotanda’s body of work in American Theater.  Mr. Gotanda is a professor with the Department of Theater Dance and Performance Studies at the University of California at Berkeley.  He resides at the Berkeley Art Plant in the Hills with his wife, Alameda Arts Commissioner, Diane Takei Gotanda.