JAPAN: Kabuki to the Kremlin

Japan's Kabuki or People's Theater is nowhere near as stuffy as the ancient and stylized No drama, but in 300 years, even the Kabuki has become a bit hidebound. Back in 1931, Japan's top Kabuki player, jut-jawed Actor Chojuro Kawarasaki, decided to liberate his art.

Like many a Broadway and Hollywood contemporary, Actor Kawarasaki had a tickling Marxian social conscience. He organized a new Kabuki troupe called the Zenshinza (Forward-Looking Theater), set up shop in a sleek, modern playhouse outside Tokyo, defied tradition by hiring women actors to play female parts and began mixing Western dramas with the Japanese classics....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!