Kabukiza to be reincarnated in form of commercial high-rise

Kyodo News

The Kabukiza theater, the mainstay host for the traditional art for more than a century, will be given new life as a high-rise accommodating a theater and business offices, a draft of its reconstruction plan showed Wednesday.

The plan, submitted by cinema producer Shochiku Co. to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, indicates the famed but obsolete theater in Tokyo’s Ginza district is destined to become a 29-story building with four subbasements.

Construction is scheduled to begin in October 2010 for completion in March 2013.

The new building will feature barrier-free theaters on the first to fourth floors and an open-air garden on the fifth. The plan also envisions creating an academy designed to nurture fresh talent for the theatrical art, which originated about 400 years ago.

The Kabuki-za opened in 1889, but the original building was destroyed during World War II. The current structure, where a 16-month run of farewell performances kicked off earlier this month, was built in 1951. Some parts of the original structure are reportedly expected to be retained.