Back in 1995, some of the movers and shakers of the domestic theater scene got together at various venues around the capital for an event called the Tokyo Performing Arts Market. The aim was simple: connect up-and-coming Japanese artists to the producers and theater buffs who might be able to support their work.

More than 20 years on, the organizers have changed venues and ditched the name — but kept the acronym. And that is why the Performing Arts Meeting in Yokohama is still referred to as TPAM for short.

The scope has changed, too, with TPAM having grown to include talk sessions and small-scale performances. As attendees exchange name cards and tips on what's trending in theater, however, contracts can also be agreed on amid the bonhomie.