Never mind those North Korean missiles that provide politicians with heaven-sent pretexts to posture. These days, everyone's talking about a boozy party held by Mongolian sumo wrestlers that turned violent reportedly because of a generational dispute over the arcane traditions of Japan's highly regimented national sport.

In this country long run by male elders little interested in the outside world and averse to any kind of change, such frictions are not confined to sumo. Indeed, even this roundup of the past year in the world of Japanese theater needs to be set against a backdrop of similar tensions.

In light of that, it's gratifying to see Arts Council Tokyo playing catch-up with the launch of a new large-scale event named Tokyo Festival, which aims to showcase both traditional and modern Japanese performing arts to the world. For sure this may only be happening because of the spotlight the 2020 Olympics will shine on Japan, but if it's anything like the marvelous "cultural Olympics" in London in 2012, it's surely to be applauded.