In his 1964 anthem, “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” Bob Dylan sings: “As the present now / Will later be past / The order is rapidly fadin’...”

At the time, he may have had social turmoil in mind when he wrote those lyrics, but the sentiment applies just as well now to how the performing arts in Japan have been going through dramatic shifts to survive in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2020, theater companies broke the mold by embracing digital platforms and trying out new approaches to business models and staging productions. Such changes will no doubt carry on in the new year, especially with Japan’s second state of emergency looking like it may be extended until the end of February.