Currently, Tokyo presents an extensive variety of stunning theater performances, incomparable to any other in the world.
THE SPLENDOR OF TAKARAZUKA
Perhaps, one of the most remarkable developments in modern Japanese theater is the more than century long running Takarazuka Revue. It was founded by Ichizo Kobayashi, the illustrious industrialist behind the Hankyu Railway and Hankyu Department Store, and Toho Co. Ltd. The family-friendly performances feature an all-female cast trained in song, dance, and acting that abides by the motto “kiyoku (modesty), tadashiku (fairness), utsukushiku (grace).” Takarazuka actresses are known as takarasienne, and through their performances, Mr. Kobayashi wished to instill in them an understanding of proper etiquette and dignity as women and as members of society. And because of how graceful and dignifi ed the actresses carry themselves, fans are well-known for taking on their courteous manners. The Takarazuka Revue consists of the fi ve troupes Flower, Moon, Snow, Star, and Cosmos; each illustrating particular themes, with mesmerizing costumes and brilliant stage sets. The Tokyo Takarazuka Theater in Tokyo serves as a special venue where performances are always showing.
THE 2.5-DIMENSIONAL MUSICAL
The “2.5-Dimensional Musical” is a new theater concept bringing the world of popular 2D Japanese manga, animation, and video games to a 3D stage. The musical’s selling points are the actors’ performances, which make them appear “live” in the 2D world through persuasive make-up and voice techniques, and the overall production that recreates the fi ctional world in a 3D space. The spectacle’s high-tech visual eff ects and exquisite theatrical skills leave audiences blown away by how their favorite characters appear so anthropomorphic. Supported mostly by a young audience, the 2.5-Dimensional Musical presents an astoundingly increasing number of new productions every year, with a total audience size of approximately 2.8 million in 2018.
JAPAN 2.5-DIMENSIONAL MUSICAL ASSOCIATION
Live Spectacle NARUTO ~Song of the Akatsuki~
ALTERNATIVE THEATRE EXTRAVAGANZA
In 2017, a new type of “nonverbal” entertainment graced modern Japanese theater in the form of powerful drum choreography and digital technology called “Mangekyo.” The performance is composed of the energetic DRUM TAO taiko drum ensemble that has performed in over 500 cities in 26 countries worldwide. The ensemble uses huge drums called wadaiko, which are specially made of hollow logs with the ends capped in cowhide. The vibrating sounds synchronize with visual digital eff ects, such as projection mapping produced by teamLab. The revolutionary production also combines other traditional instruments, such as the fl ute and koto, and are enhanced with vivacious dance scenes. Performances can be viewed at the Alternative Theatre in Yurakucho.
KABUKI “REN-G” GOES TO THE RUGBY WORLD CUP 2019
The Rugby World Cup 2019 is coming to Japan on September 20, marking the first time the tournament is held in Asia. Another first for the tournament is its Kabuki-themed mascots – a pair of charming shishi lions with rugby ball-shaped heads named Ren-G. The father Ren (with the white mane) and the son G (with the red mane) are taken from the famous Kabuki lyrical dance, Renjishi.