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Tokyo: Which theater form — kabuki, noh or Takarazuka — would you say best represents modern Japan?

by Mark Buckton

Sayuri Nakajima
Student, 24 (Japanese) 

I think it would have to be Takarazuka, as kabuki and noh are from so long ago, and are a lot more traditional, while Takarazuka is better advertised, so more people have heard of it. I’ve never seen kabuki or noh as the level is too high, but I’ve been to Takarazuka.

K. Sato
Translator, 39 (Japanese)
I would have to say that Takarazuka best represents modern Japan. It’s an all-female form of theater with a 100-year history, which now makes kabuki, as an all-male theater form, look old-fashioned and obsolete.

Nicole Bauer
Japan Tourist Regional Partner, 41 (German)
To be honest, I only know kabuki. In general, I wouldn’t associate Japanese theater with modern Japanese culture at all. I went to a kyogen performance once — great fun to watch, but modern? Not really.

Lee Prescott
Teacher/writer, 31 (English)
I used an English audio guide at kabuki and understood more than my Japanese friend because of the archaic language, so I wouldn’t say kabuki represents modern Japan. And noh is old, stylized and all about Zen. As it is different from traditional images of Japan, I’d say Takarazuka by default.

Kyoko Watanabe
Sales assistant, 36 (Japanese)
I am not sure any of them really represents modern Japan. Perhaps kabuki is reaching out to younger fans though with their “Super Kabuki” with its flying and more acrobatic-style performances. The answer could not be Takarazuka though, as too much sexism still exists in Japan.

Paul Purvis
North Asia political watcher, 35 (American)
I am going to have to go with Takarazuka as being the most representative, as they show women to be true members of society worthy of a respected place in the modern world, unlike before — at least in Japan, anyways.

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