In Tokyo, you can enjoy high-quality entertainment culture from classical concerts and operas to stand-up comedy. I have lived in Tokyo for 8 years, but there is a lot of entertainment that I haven’t experienced yet. Actually, until now, I have never seen a musical in Japan. So it was time to see a musical! My friend Hana was my company.
I am from the Northern part of Germany. Close to my hometown, there is the city Hamburg which is famous for musicals in Germany (It’s like, if you want to see a musical, you have to go to Hamburg). In Hamburg, I have seen some musical performances so far. Also, I watched a Broadway musical in New York once. But watching a musical in Japan is completely new experience for me. Hana and I decided to watch the Shiki Theatre Company’s Disney musical ‘The Lion King’. Anyone my age has watched the super famous Disney animated movie in his or her childhood – this is a musical version. It was really a nostalgic experience (suddenly I felt tears coming up…!). But let’s get back to the beginning.
Where can you see musicals? What is the language?
Speaking of musicals in Japan, the “Shiki Theatre Company” is famous for its musicals and plays. This company has theatres all over Japan and about 600 actors!
Musicals and plays of the Shiki Theatre Company include “Little Mermaid”, “Aladdin”, and “Phantom of the Opera”. All works are performed in Japanese (songs and conversations) so this is a very good practice for those studying Japanese. However, although the musical is in Japanese, that doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to enjoy it. As mentioned above, there are many famous musicals and plays you can watch, so you can “prepare” yourself for your visit by watching the movie at home before you go and see the actual musical.
Watching “Lion King” …
So, how did I like “The Lion King”? In one word, it was GREAT! I had heard that “The Lion King” has awesome technical gimmicks and effects. So I was expecting that it would be good…but I was actually overwhelmed by the beauty that was far beyond my expectation. The comical conversations, the actors singing ability, the VERY elegant dances, and the atmosphere were impressive. (Also, the child actors were fantastic! So much talent!!)
That day, the theatre was full and at the very end something very rare for Japan happened: standing ovation! What an interest experience! For those who have seen musicals in other countries: I would recommend you to watch a musical in Japan – it’s a completely new experience.
The service is great, too
At the theatre, there is a special “theater room” for parents with small children (who may be crying in the theater). Also, they have special cushions for children who would be too short to see the stage.
Of course, there is a fan shop, too. The most popular items are towels, I was told…
But of course you need a baby simba stuffed animal! And then you do this…
Where can I buy a ticket?
As in New York at the Broadway, in Tokyo, musical tickets are sold out quickly. Especially when there is a musical that you want to see, I would recommend buying your tickets already when you are planning your trip to Japan.
Ticket reservations can be made at the Shiki Theatre Company Reservation Center. You can pay with your credit card – so that’s safe and easy. (Also, there is staff who can speak English.)
Although it’s possible to make reservations the internet, the page is fully in Japanese, so if you don’t speak Japanese, making a reservation might be took difficult. (But maybe you have a friend who speaks Japanese? ^^)
What musicals do you recommend for foreign tourists?
As I wrote earlier, “The Lion King” has its final stage on May 28th (Sunday) in its current theater. After that, it will be shown at the Shiki Theater NATSU (starting in July). In addition to “The Lion King”, “Aladdin” is being performed at the Dentsu Shiki Theater UMI (Shiodome). “Aladdin” is a musical I would definitely recommend! It has a lot of technical effects and interesting gimmicks – also, you can prepare in advance by watching the movie, so the language barrier won’t be a big problem.
How about watching a musical in Tokyo? “Watching a musical in Tokyo!”… might sound a bit surprising, but there is an atmosphere that you can not experience anywhere else. Definitely a recommendation!