TOKYO -- A Japanese public-private fund will construct theaters in Osaka to showcase Japanese culture and arts, hoping to entertain the booming number of foreign tourists visiting the city with activities besides eating and shopping.
Throughout the evening, the theaters will show Japanese traditional arts such as rakugo, bunraku and kabuki as well as musicals based on Japanese anime. They also will offer simultaneous interpretation and subtitles that can be displayed on smartphones.
A joint venture established by the Cool Japan Fund and its corporate partners will invest more than 2 billion yen ($18.2 million) to build several indoor and outdoor theaters around Osaka Castle Park by spring 2018.
The fund's partners include companies such as travel agency H.I.S., entertainment conglomerate Yoshimoto Kogyo as well as Osaka-based commercial broadcasters. Also participating in the project are publishing company Kadokawa, advertising agency Dentsu, internet service provider NTT Plala and online shop Famima.com.
H.I.S. may add a visit to the theaters in its tours for foreign tourists. Commercial broadcasting companies also plan to develop TV content for Japanese audiences.
The Cool Japan Fund was founded in 2013 to market Japanese culture overseas. This marks its first investment in building cultural facilities. In previous projects, it helped Japanese supermarket chains expand abroad and supported broadcasts of Japanese anime overseas.
Japan hit a record high of 24.03 million foreign tourists in 2016. The government aims for 40 million tourists to visit Japan in 2020, when the country hosts the Summer Olympics.
According to a government official, tourists found that there is little to do in Japan after dinnertime. These new theaters will provide a good opportunity to gauge demand for such attractions.