Super Kabuki - Fusion of the traditional Kabuki drama, Pop culture and the technology

Yesterday, Japanese national channel NHK broadcasted Kabuki performing art(歌舞伎) where Vocaloid Hatsune Miku(初音ミク) appeared. Can the virtual female singer appear in Kabuki? It is possible by power of the technology.

This is Cho kabuki(超歌舞伎: Super Kauki) which fused traditional Kabuki and state-of-the-art digital audio, 3DCG animation, projection technologies and AR. It was live-staged in huge event Nico Nico Cho Kaigi 2017(ニコニコ超会議2017) which Japanese Video community site Nico Nico Douga(ニコニコ動画) held on April 29 and 30.

This was made by Shochiku(a large film studio and Kabuki production company), Dwango, NTT and Panasonic. The leading actors were popular young kabuki actor Shido Nakamura(中村獅童) and Hatsune Miku, of course.

Actresses cannot appear in Kabuki, but there is no problem if they are virtual(for details, please check Wikipedia).

 The stage was constructed by monitors and hologram screen of the multiplex structure. Kabuki actors performed in front of them and played with Vocaloid.
Furthermore, monitors and the hologram screen contributed to cool and dynamic stage direction. They were totally like effects of games.

All visitors of Nico Nico Cho Kaigi were able to watch Cho Kabuki, but because it was too popular, it was "First come, first served". In addition, some visitors were able to watch this using HoloLens. HoloLens added comment of ceiling of Kabuki theater and comments of Nico Nico Douga on Cho Kabuki. NHK broadcasted this HoloLens version. You may feel these comments are obstructive, but this is charm of Nico Nico Douga. Cho Kabuki was live-streamed in Nico Nico Douga, and users could post comments in screen. This was a share of the enthusiasm through texts.

In addition, they played Cho Kabuki last year and it won Cool Japan Matching Award which the government hosted.

Kabuki, Hatsune Miku stage duo takes 1st Cool Japan award(The Asahi Shimbun)

The word "Kabuki" originated in Sengoku era(Warring States period), and it comes from "kabukimono", the people who were showy and bizarrely dressed act that defies common sense. Now, Kabuki becomes the traditional arts, but originally it was the pop culture that adopted contemporary fashion skillfully. In a sense they made Kabuki which is faithful to a tradition.

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