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Mana Katsura

For Mana Katsura's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Unsung creator casts light on casting and her 'gift from heaven'

Mar 18, 2015

Unsung creator casts light on casting and her 'gift from heaven'

Ask any Japanese theater lover to list his or her favorite foreign directors, and most would include Peter Brook, the English-born, long-time French resident who has been bringing his productions here and encouraging audiences to explore new artistic realms since way back in 1973. ...

Going where Terayama's rare spirit lives on

Mar 11, 2015

Going where Terayama's rare spirit lives on

The avant-garde stage and film director, poet, critic, author and founder of the experimental theater group Tenjo Sajiki, Shuji Terayama (1935-83), influenced theater the world over with his iconoclastic plays such as “Mink Marie,” “Heretics” and “Directions to Servants.” From the early 1970s, his ...

Kabuki icon takes Dazzle dancers to new levels

Mar 4, 2015

Kabuki icon takes Dazzle dancers to new levels

Street dance has been growing in popularity for years among younger generations in “Cool Japan,” with displays often attracting crowds of passers-by. Though many artists perform alone in public, others have pooled their talents to help broaden their appeal. Among those, one standout is ...

Couples beware as Kayoko Shiraishi returns in intriguing style

Feb 11, 2015

Couples beware as Kayoko Shiraishi returns in intriguing style

Actress Kayoko Shiraishi is famed for her portrayals of male and female characters of all ages almost as if she were possessed by their souls. Last year in October, however, she left legions of fans lamenting when, after 22 years, she finally completed her ...

Young gun Kinoshita takes aim at tradition

Jan 28, 2015

Young gun Kinoshita takes aim at tradition

Though for more than 300 years it’s only been performed by men and boys, kabuki exists in the public imagination as actors engulfed in hair and makeup, wearing elaborate costumes and striking ostentatious poses on a vast stage. Despite this, works by the Kinoshita ...

Curtains up on 2015

Jan 1, 2015

Curtains up on 2015

Innovation adds sparkle to traditional forms Looking into the crystal ball of Japan’s traditional performing arts in 2015 reveals a sparkling blend of change and tradition. In what is its 120th year, the film and theater company and pillar of kabuki, Shochiku, will mark ...

French idol reflects on her Japanese droid son

Nov 26, 2014

French idol reflects on her Japanese droid son

As a playwright, stage director, Osaka University professor, manager of the Komaba Agora Theater in Tokyo and leader of the city’s Seinendan theater company he formed in 1983, Oriza Hirata — whose “contemporary colloquial theater” set the scene for much of Japan’s new drama ...

Classic early mystery lays bare elusive Lepage style

Oct 15, 2014

Classic early mystery lays bare elusive Lepage style

As an actor and world-class theater, film and opera director, Robert Lepage has become renowned for his unconventional productions using high-tech devices. Now, though, Tokyo audiences can feast their eyes and minds on this 56-year-old French-Canadian’s early masterpiece, 1987’s “Le Polygraphe (Polygraph),” a play ...

Theater's magic brings wonderful 'War Horse' to life

Aug 6, 2014

Theater's magic brings wonderful 'War Horse' to life

It is now 100 years since the start of World War I, which claimed close to 17 million lives before it ended in November 1918. Hence the Tokyo opening of “War Horse” — a play set during that so-called “war to end war” — ...