National

Famed Kyoto kabuki theater reopens after major reinforcement work to guard against earthquakes

Kyodo

The Minamiza Theater in Kyoto reopened Thursday after closing for two years and nine months, during which it was reinforced to guard against earthquakes.

The theater, in Shijogawara, where kabuki originated, has a history that dates back 400 years. The current building, with its traditional Momoyama-style exterior design, was completed in 1929. It had been closed since February 2016 for the refurbishment work.

The building’s exterior has been retained and equipment used inside has been updated. Removable audience seating was also installed on the first floor so that the stage floor can be extended.

The kaomise (the first production of the season) will run for two months and celebrate the building’s renewal. Two different programs will be featured — one in November and the other in December.

Actors for the November program include Matsumoto Koshiro and his son, Ichikawa Somegoro.

The theater was designated by the state as a tangible cultural property in 1996.