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Traditional Arts x Anime: Performance with a New Sense Starts at Meiji-za

At the Meiji-za in Nihonbashi, Tokyo, a historic theater founded in 1873, the performance of “SAKURA –JAPAN IN THE BOX–” will start on September 7, 2016. This is a musical fantasy; a fusion of Japan’s traditional performing art and animation, and it’s a new type of performance, soliciting audience’s participation.



A female high school student, Sakura, meets a mysterious white fox and strays into a parallel world. In order to return to her home world, she embarks on a journey to find “SAKURA”, the spirit of cherry blossoms. The story is like a Japanese version of “Alice in Wonderland”. This story develops in a musical encompassing multiple entertainment expressions, such as traditional Japanese dance, western dance, Japanese musical instruments, rock, and animation, with scenes from Japan’s beautiful four seasons intertwined.

Overall production of the performance is led by Mr. Makoto Tada, who presides over “G-Rockets”, the first acrobatic dance company in Japan. While the musical expresses traditional Japanese culture through Japanese dance and Japanese instruments, animation, modern popular culture is also blended in. This combination is created with an image of a mysterious box “Tamatebako”in which Japan’s past and present cultures are packed tightly in one box. It stirs our imagination and grows our expectation for what kind of “Japanese” performance will jump out once the box is opened.

In addition, all the components of the theater will be unified by a“Japanese” world view. We are very curious to see how sakura, or the cherry blossom, which is loved by many Japanese people and incorporated in the title of this performance, will be beautifully expressed in this performance.


Audition for the Main Character Is Underway and Casting Is Still TBA!

Gearing up for the performance of “SAKURA –JAPAN IN THE BOX–”, starting on September 7, 2016, the audition for the protagonist “Sakura”will be held in mid-July (TBD). The ongoing special program allows applicants of the audition to apply from the official web site as well as the official Twitter, and both professional and amateur are welcome.  “Sakura”, who will stand on the stage of the Meiji-za will be determined soon. We are anxiously waiting for the audition’s result.


Expectation Is Rising: the Historical Meiji-za Meets the New Challenge

So far there has been a strong impression that the Meiji-za is for audience of middle to mature age groups. But with the Tokyo Olympic coming up in 2020, the theater has decided to run the performance of “SAKURA –JAPAN IN THE BOX–”at unprecedented late hours, after their night performance is over. The theater plans to offer a new night entertainment for foreign tourists and young people who finished their shopping for the day. It has already attracted much attention particularly from young people in Japan and abroad, and the September performance is eagerly awaited.



Dates: September 7, 2016 through March 31, 2017 (Schedule for the fiscal year 2017 and after is to be finalized.)
Hours: 8:30 PM to 9:40 PM
Place: Meiji-za, MapOfficial Website

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About the author

Favorite genres are various aspects of Japanese otaku culture. Having been away from Japan for some time, there are many scenes where Azuki realizes the differences between international culture and Japanese culture. Through her own experience and knowledge, she hopes to deliver useful information to the international community who are interested in Japan.

View all articles by Azuki