One Piece Manga Adapted into Kabuki Stage Play

January 25, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. entice / ɛnˈtaɪs / (v.) – to attract
Example: The presence of the young actress in the movie enticed younger fans to watch it.

2. devotee / dɛv əˈti / (n.) – an enthusiastic follower or fan
Example: The show has lost many of its devotees over time.

3. protagonist / proʊˈtæg ə nɪst / (n.) – the main hero in a story
Example: Who will play the role of the protagonist in the show?

4. chronicle / krɒn ɪ kəl / (v.) – to record events in the sequence that they happen
Example: The character’s journey was chronicled in several books.

5. sequel / si kwəl / (n.) – a story that can stand on its own but also continues a previous story
Example: I think the sequel was better than the first movie.


Read the text below.
A kabuki stage play based on the pirate-themed comic series One Piece was recently produced to entice two different groups of fans.

The performance, known as Super Kabuki II: One Piece, was presented in November by Japanese entertainment company Shochiku. It was held in their Shimbashi Enbujo theater in central Tokyo, in an attempt to attract both fans of the comic and kabuki devotees. Kensuke Yokouchi scripted and directed the play, while Ichikawa Ennosuke IV co-directed and starred in three roles, including the main protagonist.

The source material for the play is One Piece, a manga that chronicles the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy, a pirate with special abilities, looking for a treasure called One Piece. Although the play utilized techniques from traditional kabuki, such as chunori or wire suspension special effects, and honmizu or water special effects, it used modern Japanese in its dialogue.

The presentation of a comic book story through traditional theater was an innovation on Shochiku's part. The intention was to attract crowds from different fan groups in order to boost sales. The production's success not only allowed Shochiku to make a profit, it also launched a sequel into the planning stage.

Shochiku is not the only company hoping to make a profit from One Piece. To celebrate its kabuki debut, Isshindo Honpo, a Japanese healthcare company, launched One Piece face packs. The specially-designed face packs feature the likeness of Shanks and Monkey D. Luffy in his kabuki form. The face pack not only lets the users pretend to be their favorite One Piece character but is also a skin cleanser.   

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What stories from other media (e.g. television, movies, books) would you like to see in a play? Why?
·         Do you think the theater industry in your country is doing well? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         What are some popular theater plays in your country?
·         Which do you prefer: theater plays or movies? Why? 

January 25, 2016