Innovation adds sparkle to traditional forms

Looking into the crystal ball of Japan's traditional performing arts in 2015 reveals a sparkling blend of change and tradition.

In what is its 120th year, the film and theater company and pillar of kabuki, Shochiku, will mark the succession of Kanjaku Nakamura to the name Ganjiro Nakamura IV — as the latest in an ancient line of renowned exponents of the Kyoto-Osaka area's Kamigata-Kabuki genre — with onstage ceremonies in January and February at events in Osaka, before others in Tokyo, Fukuoka, Kyoto and elsewhere. Kabuki shows will also feature veteran actors putting on some classics, while younger ones try out new works.