Monday, February 29, 2016

Kaho Gekijo Theatre, Iizuka

Built in 1931 to replace several earlier versions that had been destroyed by fire and typhoon, this Kabuki theater was modeled on the Nakaza Theater in Osaka, and still holds kabuki performances and other plays and concerts.

For a provincial theater it is quite large, seating up to 1200 people. It claims to have the largest revolving stage in Japan, moved manually by 12 men. Visitors can explore the understage area as well as props room and other exhibitions.

There was once a total of 48 theaters serving this area known as Chikugo, but this is the only one remaining. Though Iizuka grew from being a post station on the Nagasaki Kaido, it flourished as the center of a massive coal industry starting in the Meiji period.

The coal industry was closed down, not because the coal ran out, but because the government mandarins chose to focus on cheap middle eastern oil, cheaper coal imports,  and then cheap nuclear for the country's power.


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