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FUNABASHI, Chiba Pref. (Kyodo) Sakio Hashioka, a 37-year-old noh actor, is working to make the oldest professional theater in existence as popular as rock concerts, using the business sense he acquired when he was a salesman.

Though noh was designated a masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 2001, it is not hugely popular with the public. Its stylized, poetic language and deliberate movements are confusing even to native Japanese speakers without some background knowledge of the art form.

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