'Tenimyu' 2.5-D shows net over 2 million tickets sold

Mar 31, 2015

'Tenimyu' 2.5-D shows net over 2 million tickets sold

by Nobuko Tanaka

There’s kabuki, noh, butoh, bunraku, regular plays, glitzy musicals and Japan’s unique all-female Takarazuka musical theater troupe — but another home-grown performance-art genre has for some time been carving a niche in this country’s diverse entertainment world in the shape of so-called 2.5-D musicals. ...

Twenty years of 'Riverdance' and it's never been out of step

Mar 26, 2015

Twenty years of 'Riverdance' and it's never been out of step

“Riverdance” is returning to Japan. Twenty years on from its debut as an interval in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1994, the Irish step-dancing show that revamped and massively expanded the genre’s global appeal is returning to Japan for its sixth tour. It’s hard ...

Top bunraku artist ensures his master's name lives on

Mar 25, 2015

Top bunraku artist ensures his master's name lives on

by Ayako Takahashi

Traditional Japanese puppetry, known as bunraku, has its roots in 17th-century Osaka, but in the following century a variant emerged in which, rather than a puppet being handled by just one person, three performers working together operated each puppet in a play’s cast. In ...

Noda's 'Egg' scrambles understanding

Mar 25, 2015

Noda's 'Egg' scrambles understanding

by Bronwyn Mahoney

After his acclaimed French debut last year with “The Bee,” news of Hideki Noda’s return to the Theatre National de Chaillot in central Paris with his pop-war-and-Olympian extravaganza “Egg” created quite a buzz of anticipation. Premiered in 2012 at the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre where ...

Summit spotlights school dramatists

Mar 25, 2015

Summit spotlights school dramatists

by Nobuko Tanaka

“Diversity is the outstanding attraction of high school drama, so I’m always appreciating afresh theater’s myriad charms,” the prominent director Keisuke Tanaka said with a beaming smile during a recent interview ahead of the fifth annual High School Drama Summit at Tokyo’s leading Agora ...

All change for Kanze noh theater

Mar 18, 2015

All change for Kanze noh theater

by Ayako Takahashi

Of Japan’s many traditional performing arts, noh is the most refined — and among its most prominent figures today is 55-year-old Kiyokazu Kanze, the 26th head of its largest faction, the Kanze School. A descendant of the father and son pair Kan’ami and Zeami ...

Psycho-drama mystery tests Tani's 'pop' principles

Mar 18, 2015

Psycho-drama mystery tests Tani's 'pop' principles

by Nobuko Tanaka

“Probably nobody ever got involved with theater the way I did,” Kenichi Tani said with a laugh, explaining that because his teachers at school were “really boring” he set his sights on becoming an interesting teacher in the future. “So I often skipped classes ...