“Burai II: The Swords of Sorrow,” which was to be performed from July 6 to 22 at Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica, has been canceled.
“We sincerely apologize but unfortunately, the show has been canceled due to illness of the lead actor, Hiro Matsunaga,” Burai Productions organizer Kyoko Okazaki announced on June 27. “Maybe it is unusual to share this private information, but we feel like we owe you an explanation. Hiro agrees and gave us permission to share this with you.
“Hiro, the lead, has been fighting the lymphatic cancer since October last year. It has been treated with chemo and he was doing well for a while and was preparing for the performance. Hiro told us how much this show was supporting him mentally, and giving him motivation to get better. We believed it was the right decision to keep going towards the opening.
“However, he recently started to have a strong pain in his stomach and went back to the hospital and was diagnosed with much more aggressive cancer and found out that his stomach was all surrounded by them. He started getting treatment in the hospital yesterday and has to stay in bed until the port in his body gets stable.
“Since the tumor has grown so big and is attached to his stomach, there is a possibility that the chemo treatment might cause [him]to have a hole on his stomach. If that happens, he immediately needs an operation. Hiro has been trying his best to perform in July, but we can no longer take a risk at this point.
“We started the rehearsal since March and the production has been working on this project over a year. Everyone who is involved with this play is so passionate and we sincerely appreciate their dedication.
“We strongly believe that he will fight the cancer and will come back well and strong so we can finally perform together.
“There is nobody else who can replace Hiro. After all, this role was written for him by Naoki [Fujiyama], the director.
“We sincerely apologize for those who have been looking forward to seeing the show. We promise you to come back when the right time has come. Meanwhile, we will make sure to refund your tickets, so please hang in there. We will update with you when we find out more details about refunds, and of course, new dates of the show. Thank you so much for your understanding.”