International and Contemporary Theater and Dance in Tokyo

The theater scene encompasses everything from Shakespeare (at the Tokyo Globe) and Broadway musicals to comedy, classical ballet, and modern dance, with the main venues in Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Marunouchi. The level of performance is usually high.

The Tokyo Comedy Store offers non-Japanese and Japanese the chance to show off their comedy skills in English: two laughter- packed hours on the fourth Friday of the month at Crocodile in Harajuku.

A uniguely Japanese theater experience is Takarazuka, a company divided into five troupes and composed entirely of women. With their own state-of-the-art Takarazuka Theater in Yurakucho, they perform adaptations in Japanese of Western musicals and historic love stories, and are famed for their lavish productions.

The Interior of Takarazuka Grand Theater
The Interior of Takarazuka Grand Theater

Nihon Buyo Kyokai stages regular performances of traditional dance. Usually at the end of May, the Azuma Odori, an annual production of dance, drama, and music, brings Tokyo’s geisha community on stage at the Shinbashi Enbujo Theater Buto – a unique and compelling art form – is contempo­rary dance combined with performance art. Developed in the 1960s, performances feature shaven headed dancers, almost naked, painted with makeup. Slow, simplistic cho­reography seeks to create beauty out of the self- imposed grotesqueness.

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