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Ayako Takahashi

For Ayako Takahashi's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Ginza's new noh theater seeks to break down cultural barriers

Jun 8, 2017

Ginza's new noh theater seeks to break down cultural barriers

The Kanze Noh Theater reopened in April in Ginza Six, a new upscale shopping complex in central Tokyo that seeks to attract domestic and foreign audiences to a wide range of the country's traditional performing arts. With this in mind, the complex's owners reached out ...

Modern dramatist's 'dark and gorgeous' kabuki tests famed brothers

Mar 21, 2017

Modern dramatist's 'dark and gorgeous' kabuki tests famed brothers

Life and death are major themes for artists, and for dramatists no less. In Japan, its traditional all-male kabuki stages have long witnessed fathers killing sons to fulfil a duty to their lord, heroines played by onnagata (male actors who specialize in female roles) giving ...

Celtic noh draws on two cultures' essence

Jan 24, 2017

Celtic noh draws on two cultures' essence

Noh is a uniquely Japanese form of musical drama that dates back to at least the 14th century. However, it took 600 years before this performing art surfaced in Western culture — notably with Irish poet William Butler Yeats' noh-inspired 1917 play "At the ...

Noh's drum pair keep it in the family

Sep 27, 2016

Noh's drum pair keep it in the family

Japan's musical dance-theater form known as noh was honed to its sublime simplicity in the 14th century by a father and son named Kan'ami and Zeami, and since then it has changed very little. Performed on a roofed stage with open sides and posts at ...

Japan's traditional performing arts getting set for the Olympics

Apr 26, 2016

Japan's traditional performing arts getting set for the Olympics

Spurred on by the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, many people involved in Japan's traditional performing arts are preparing for the surge in overseas visitors expected in 2020 — notably the Japan Council, which manages the National Theatre, the National Bunraku Theatre and the National Noh ...

Japan's top ballerina recalls times shared with French star

Nov 24, 2015

Japan's top ballerina recalls times shared with French star

'Sylvie's retirement fills me with deep emotion. She is truly a ballerina who appears only once in 100 years. "In addition to her great physical ability, her large repertoire founded on a classical base but including modern and contemporary works is quite outstanding — and ...

Star actor Mirai Moriyama shares his delight at being 'in a mess'

Sep 22, 2015

Star actor Mirai Moriyama shares his delight at being 'in a mess'

As the saying goes, "If you chase two hares, you'll catch neither" — but award-winning actor Mirai Moriyama is proving the exception who's broken this rule by adding "top-flight dancer" to his resume. Although the 31-year-old Kobe native actually started dance lessons at age 5, ...

Queens' tale speaks to now

May 26, 2015

Queens' tale speaks to now

Though it's 40 years since Italian playwright Dacia Maraini wrote "Mary Stuart," this story of two queens — Elizabeth I of England and Ireland and Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots — remains as relevant now as ever in its portrayal of two women burning ...

Top bunraku artist ensures his master's name lives on

Mar 25, 2015

Top bunraku artist ensures his master's name lives on

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 this ...