From Classical Kabuki to Art Kabuki, Moving Forward

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On July 23rd, the Japan Society of Northern California worked with the Japan Society of Boston and the Japan Society Canada to welcome young Kabuki star Nakamura Kazutaro at our online event, Nakamura Kazutaro: ART of KABUKI – From Classical Kabuki to Art Kabuki, Moving Forward. This event was part of the “Traditional Art in Modern Japan” series. The program consisted of a viewing of clips from Kazutaro’s roles in traditional Kabuki, a breakdown of his masterpiece, ART KABUKI, featuring modern adaptations of the art form, and a Q&A session. The entire event was enthusiastically moderated by Mark Frey, a Bay Area business executive, JET Alumnus, and passionate Kabuki fan.

The audience consisted of English-speaking viewers who were new to Japanese culture, as well as avid fans of Kazutaro from Japan. This wide array of audience was made possible with our online format, as well as with our live interpreter, who made it feel as if everyone was directly conversing with Kazutaro throughout the program.

This was a great cultural and learning experience for everyone, as it provided an introduction to classical Kabuki while also exploring the modern challenges and evolutions taking place in the world of Kabuki today. Specifically, Kazutaro’s ART KABUKI implemented modern technology, fashion, music, and esthetics in a livestream and dance-centered format that overcame the limitations of the Coronavirus pandemic and delivered the Kabuki and Japanese cultural experience to a global audience.

This event was made possible by generous grants and support from the Japan Foundation Los Angeles, KSR, and ENOTECH. Thank you to Kazutaro, Frey, and everyone at the event, and we hope to see you again at another of our Kabuki and Japanese arts events!

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