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Arts

'Ukiyo-e cafe' to turn classic paintings into high-tech period plays

Yokohama recruits Japan's Blue Man Group to draw rugby fans and Olympic tourists

This artist rendering depicts performers making ukiyo-e paintings come to life at Yokohama's Kanagawa Kenmin Hall.

TOKYO -- Yokohama's premiere cultural venue will soon host a cafe featuring performers wordlessly acting out scenes in digitally replicated ukiyo-e paintings, which flourished in Japan between the 17th and 19th centuries.

The cafe will launch Aug. 8 at Kanagawa Kenmin Hall, the performing arts landmark overlooking the ports of Yokohama. The use of projection mapping will create the illusion that the actors are jumping out of classic ukiyo-e paintings.

Popular subjects include women, kabuki actors and sumo wrestlers, and depict scenes from history and folk tales. Katsushika Hokusai and Utagawa Hiroshige are among the popular artists from the genre.

The production aims to draw foreign tourists to the venue, particularly those attending the Rugby World Cup to be held in Yokohama in September, as well as visitors for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Siro-A, the troupe described as Japan's answer to the Blue Man Group, will perform the ensembles beginning at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. every day, apart from Tuesdays and Wednesdays. During down time, the cafe displays images of ukiyo-e paintings on the screen.

Tickets are 3,000 yen ($27.82) for people 16 and older, and are available online or at the venue.

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