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Smash-hit Japanese manga 'Demon Slayer' to be adapted into traditional Noh theatrical play

The promotional poster for the Noh theatrical play (c) Yoshiharu Gotoge / Shueisha Inc. Office Ohtsuki

TOKYO -- The smash-hit Japanese manga "Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba" will be adapted into a Noh theatrical play produced and performed by masters of the traditional arts.

    Titled "Noh Kyogen 'Kimetsu no Yaiba,'" the play will be supervised by Bunzo Ohtsuki, a living national treasure and an awardee of the Person of Cultural Merit who often plays protagonists at Noh's Kanze school, and staged by Mansai Nomura, an Izumi-school "Kyogen" comic stage actor.

    The "Demon Slayer" series by manga artist Koyoharu Gotoge was published in the popular weekly manga magazine "Shukan Shonen Jump" by Shueisha Inc. between February 2016 and May 2020, and 23 volumes of the title are available. Depicting sad stories of humans and demons, a total of more than 150 million copies, including electronic editions, have been sold. The film adaptation "Demon Slayer -- Kimetsu no Yaiba -- The Movie: Mugen Train" also earned more than 40 billion yen (about $326 million) in box-office sales in Japan.

    The theme of the theatrical play roughly translates to: "Humans are demons and demons are also humans who weave eternal thoughts and dance." The roles of protagonist Tanjiro Kamado and his younger sister Nezuko will be played by Noh's Kanze-style protagonist actor Yuichi Ohtsuki. His master Bunzo will also play the role of Rui, who holds the position of Lower Rank Five, and Mansai will play the roles of characters including antagonist Muzan Kibutsuji. Yuichi Kinoshita, who leads the Kinoshita-Kabuki company, will be in charge of the script.

    The play will be performed at the Kanze Noh Theater in Tokyo's Chuo Ward between July 26 and 31, and the Ohtsuki Noh Theatre in Osaka's Chuo Ward between Dec. 9 and 11.

    (Japanese original by Noboru Hirose, Cultural News Department)

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