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Japan's Noh theater breathes new life in Malaysia

Drama master seeks to extend boundaries of secretive 650-year-old art form

Master Naohiko Umewaka posing with a suit and his golden Noh Mask, the stage attire he uses to break with tradition and modernize the art (photo by Thum Chia Chieh)

PENANG, Malaysia -- A man dressed in heavy robes moves slowly across a platform while the sound of drums intensifies in a dramatic crescendo. His steps are as light as they are powerfully choreographed, every expert movement contributing to heighten the tension in the room.

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