At a handsome old farmhouse turned coffee shop in Chichibu, western Saitama Prefecture, Yasuichi Tsukagoshi, 58, anxiously awaits March 10 when his cherished dream will come true.

That weekend “The Mikado” will be presented by local citizens, breaking an old taboo in Japan. The event follows a citizens’ initiative to dismantle a cultural barrier, as well as their proud declaration that Chichibu is “the Town of Titipu,” the opera’s setting.

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