(Nobuko Tanaka’s article appeared in the Japan Times, 10/6.)

Press conferences are usually upbeat affairs, but at the one held to herald Festival/Tokyo — a two-month theater festival that kicks off Oct. 15 — Artistic Director Sachio Ichimura appears looking worried and begins proceedings by bemoaning the event’s financial situation and wondering aloud about its future.

It was quite a shock considering F/T is one of the country’s top theater happenings, and an annual must-see for many.

So, to discover what was going on, I sought out several people involved with the event. Gradually it became clear to me that the capital’s entire arts landscape is in the throes of unannounced seismic shifts.

A key sign of the change came when Yuriko Koike, Tokyo’s new governor, appeared in Minami Ikebukuro Park one recent sunny afternoon at the official opening ceremony for something called Tokyo Metropolitan Festival 2016.

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