Tokyo’s Kabuki-za, regarded by Japanese as the center of modern kabuki theater, turned 100 years old this month. Set amid the roaring traffic and glitter of Tokyo’s Ginza district, the Kabuki-za Theater was built at the time of increasing Western trade that influenced the costuming and plotting of the 385-year-old art form. The Kabuki-za was funded by the Japanese government from the beginning, allowing the kabuki actors the freedom to perfect their approach to the traditional plays. The kabuki traditions have been relaxed more since the American occupation after World War II. Today, performers continue their mastery of traditional plays while trying new works, new acting techniques and collaborations with Western actors, dancers and directors. More than 250 members of kabuki acting families are registered with the Japan Actors Assn., with family members as young as 3 years old being trained for their futures in the theater.
MODERN KABUKI CENTER TURNS 100
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