High-tech kabuki show to debut at Kyoto theater

The Yomiuri ShimbunKabuki performances will be launched in a new format called 3-D kabuki from around mid-2019 at Minamiza theater in Kyoto.

Implemented by Shochiku Co., the 3-D project aims to attract new viewers to kabuki, such as foreign visitors and young Japanese people, by offering a new way to enjoy the traditional performing art.

The format will use a 3-D image projection system of NTT Corp. and other information technology.

Audiences will be able to watch kabuki actors performing on stage with such virtual images as lifelike projections of themselves and anime characters.

Shochiku and NTT jointly gave experimental performances at home and abroad from 2016 to explore the format’s profitability.

These shows brought in a satisfactory number of visitors, so they decided to install a 3-D system at a theater operated by Shochiku and give 3-D kabuki performances for a fixed period of time.

The two companies are intending to produce and stage new works for the 3-D format.

Shochiku plans to expand venues for 3-D kabuki over a three-year period from 2019 to 2021, starting with Minamiza.

The kabuki production company will also explore and develop ways to take advantage of the new system, such as creating 3-D images of master kabuki actors from the past, to make them look as if they are performing with the actors of today.Speech

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