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The lobby of the Kabuki-za in Higashi Ginza — the mecca of kabuki — was swarming with people last week, ahead of the start of this year’s noryo kabuki (summer festival of kabuki).

Not only was it packed, but the air was full of excitement. Those gathered were about to witness a historic crossover: Hideki Noda — the internationally renowned standard-bearer of modern Japanese theater — is this month directing and dramatizing the traditional theater form for the first time.

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