Lions from the West, dragons from the East


K een to push forward their plan to legalize casinos in Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party is now busy winning over skeptics with predictions of tourism and tax revenue bonanzas. Perhaps a ticket to “Dralion,” Cirque du Soleil’s current performance in Tokyo, might help win over dissenters.

It’s not that the show involves casinos, but it does have all the razzle and dazzle that tends to surround them — especially in the casino capital of the world, Las Vegas.

Cirque du Soleil, a Quebec-based circus company, currently has productions running at five of the major casinos on the Las Vegas strip, making their hair-raising, awe-inspiring antics as synonymous with the “Vegas experience” as roulette and Texas Hold’em.

Tokyo is one of dozens of cities worldwide now hosting a Soleil crew. With 73 performers, the Dralion team have pitched their tent (a 2,800-seat whopper) beside Yoyogi National Stadium in Harajuku, and are performing through April 6. The show reopens in Fukuoka from April 23 to June 15.

Dralion is a mix of Chinese circus tradition with Cirque du Soleil’s glitzy showmanship. It stars “dralions” — a combination of dragons from the East and lions from the West — who jump, tumble and somersault around the stage, along with umbrella foot-juggling, human pyramid skipping and some jaw-dropping stunts on trampolines.

Over 1 million people have seen Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion since their Japan tour began last March.

Tickets for adults are ¥5,500, ¥9,000 and ¥11,500 (¥3,500, ¥5,500 and ¥7,500 for children) and can be purchased online or at the onsite box office. Call (03) 5237-7120 or visit www.dralion.jp for details.