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On July 1, 2009, Kenzaburo Mogi, 72, a former vice chairman of the soy sauce manufacturing giant Kikkoman Corporation, was appointed to direct the Japan Arts Council, which covers all traditional performing arts of Japan, including noh, kabuki and bunraku (puppet theater).

A soy sauce executive might seem an odd choice to oversee Japan’s traditional theater. But Itaru Takashio, the deputy commissioner of the Agency for Cultural Affairs and his colleague, Yayoi Komatsu, director of the Policy Planning and Coordination Division, had good reasons for asking Mogi to join the Japan Arts Council.

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