Spurred on by the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, many people involved in Japan's traditional performing arts are preparing for the surge in overseas visitors expected in 2020 — notably the Japan Council, which manages the National Theatre, the National Bunraku Theatre and the National Noh Theatre.

As Fumio Owada, an executive director of the Japan Council, explained, "Cultural programs surrounding the 2012 London Olympics focused on foreign visitors, people with disabilities, young people and the rest of the country, and we have been doing that as well."

Last year, the National Theatre ran a popular "Discover Kabuki" program for non-Japanese audiences, featuring talks by performers and a performance complemented by audio guides and booklets in English, Chinese and Korean as well as Japanese.