Opening night for “Unrivaled,” a play by Rosie Narasaki, directed by Margaret Shigeko Starbuck, took place March 25 at Boston Court Pasadena. Set during Japan’s Heian period (794-1185), the story focuses on the relationship between two prominent women authors, Murasaki Shikibu (“The Tale of Genji”) and Sei Shonagon (“The Pillow Book”).

Above: Narasaki (center) with Cindy Nguyen (left), who plays Empress Teishi, and Chelsea Yakura-Kurtz, who plays Sei Shonagon.

Right: David Huynh, who plays Michinaga, and Katie Kitani, who plays Murasaki Shikibu.

Below: Narasaki with Sharon Omi (left), her mother and fellow actress, and Lynne Miyake, emerita professor of Japanese at Pomona College, who taught Narasaki about classical Japanese literature.

“Unrivaled,” a co-production with Playwrights’ Arena, runs through April 23. Boston Court Pasadena is located at 70 N. Mentor Ave. in Pasadena. For more information, call (626) 683-6801 or visit

Photos by J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo

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