Since 2009, when Festival/Tokyo was created by a raft of public agencies to enhance the city’s bid for the 2016 or 2020 Olympics, its role as Japan’s biggest annual contemporary theater, dance and performance event has changed greatly — in particular when those agencies altered course in 2016 by also launching the confusingly named Tokyo Festival.

Billed as a way of spreading performing arts to and from Japan and overseas, the new event’s remit spans a wide range from traditional Japanese specialties to international programs, Asian and Asian-collaboration works — as well as Festival/Tokyo itself. Hence, with both events running at a similar time each year, the onus has since been on Festival/Tokyo to define itself anew.

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