Kentaro makes hip-hop personal

Oct 18, 2012

Kentaro makes hip-hop personal

Almost the whole of Kentaro’s life has been devoted to dance — in particular to hip-hop dance — ever since he first saw it on television as an elementary school boy. Even today, as a well-known professional dancer who prefers not to reveal his ...

The woman who could bring Beppu back to life

Sep 13, 2012

The woman who could bring Beppu back to life

In Japan’s performing arts scene, it’s widely believed that 32-year-old Akane Nakamura is one of the country’s most famous globally known theater producers. As executive director of the theater production company Precog and the performing arts nonprofit Drifters International — which she founded in ...

Film star Satoshi Tsumabuki moves up to a new stage

| Sep 2, 2012

Film star Satoshi Tsumabuki moves up to a new stage

Wearing a headband and tracksuit, Satoshi Tsumabuki — the 31-year-old darling of the Japanese entertainment world — was easy to spot among a crowd of actors in a rehearsal studio in downtown Tokyo recently. He was there preparing for “Egg,” Hideki Noda’s new play, ...

'Our Planet' director focuses on Japan's locals

Aug 30, 2012

'Our Planet' director focuses on Japan's locals

Just three years ago, in 2009, Yukio Shiba burst to stardom at age 27 with his masterful first play, “Waga Hoshi” (“Our Planet”), which premiered in Tokyo and the following year scooped Japanese contemporary theater’s prestigious Kishida Kunio Award. “Up until then, even in ...

Public theater takes on a leading role

Jul 12, 2012

Public theater takes on a leading role

Once upon a time, Japanese contemporary theater shared the limelight with youth-cultural movements that were rocking the nation. Back then, in the late 1960s and ’70s, the avant-garde works of the angura (underground) theater scene had such an affinity with the radical student movement ...

Koki Mitani: Japan's Mr. Comedy

| Jun 3, 2012

Koki Mitani: Japan's Mr. Comedy

Koki Mitani is far and away the nation’s best-known dramatist. Although theater is quite a niche medium here, most people in Japan — whether male or female, young or not so young, Japanese or not — recognize his face, even if they couldn’t name ...

Shizuoka eyes theatrical bridge over to Avignon

Jun 1, 2012

Shizuoka eyes theatrical bridge over to Avignon

Stranger things have happened, and in the near future a vibrant cultural bridge across Eurasia may be built between the city of Shizuoka in the beautiful foothills of Mount Fuji, and ancient Avignon in the artists’ mecca of Provence in the South of France. ...

'Alien' actress at home with a robot

| May 20, 2012

'Alien' actress at home with a robot

Even today in the performing arts in Japan, gaijin (lit. “aliens”), as foreigners are called, are still often presented like something to be gawped at in a Victorian freak show. It was a bit like that when a new play called “Sayonara (Goodbye)” premiered ...

There is trouble on Kafka's shore

May 17, 2012

There is trouble on Kafka's shore

Seventy-six-year-old theater director Yukio Ninagawa is famed and honored the world over for his magnificently visualized stagings of Shakespeare and Ancient Greek tragedies — as well as modern Japanese plays. He was awarded a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 2002, and has ...

Monkeying around on the stage

May 4, 2012

Monkeying around on the stage

Britain’s longest-serving theater critic, Michael Billington of The Guardian newspaper, is famous for not lavishing praise on his subjects easily or often. So when Billington tipped his hat to “Kafka’s Monkey” in a 2009 review — rhetorically asking, “Is there anything Kathryn Hunter can’t ...