Explore 2.5D Musicals with Japan Foundation, New York

Anime Takes the Stage: The Rise of 2.5-Dimensional Musicals and Beyond

Tuesday, March 30 from 8:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. EDT

Live on YouTube

Admission: Free

What is a 2.5-Dimensional (2.5D) musical?

It is a stage adaptation from two-dimensional media such as anime, manga, and video games. This new genre of Japanese pop culture has gained remarkable popularity in Japan since the debut of Musical: The Prince of Tennis in 2003.

2.5D culture attempts to recreate the fictional world (2D) in the real world (3D) and is expanding and deepening in Japan. It has manifested itself in different forms such as cosplay, voice actors’ concerts, and Vtubers (Virtual YouTubers). As a part of the phenomenon, 2.5D musicals have brought anime, manga, and video games to the stage and created a whole new cultural practice of theatrical performances.

To explore 2.5D musicals, Japan Foundation, New York will host a panel discussion with three academics. Akiko Sugawa-Shimada, Zihui Amethy Lu, and Mayuko Fujiwara will introduce the uniqueness of 2.5D musicals using examples such as The Prince of Tennis, Sailor Moon, Naruto and Touken Ranbu. They will compare it to other conventional musicals and the history of Japanese theatre. They’ll also discuss where 2.5D musicals fit in the larger scheme of the 2.5D culture and why they are expanding.

A live Q&A will follow the discussion. If you have any questions about the adaptation of anime and manga to the stage, now’s your chance to ask the experts! You can include your question when you register for the event via JFNY’s Eventbrite page. Live commentary will also be enabled on the YouTube stream, so you can participate in the Q&A session on air as well. Registrants will receive the link to the stream via email.

About Dr. Akiko Sugawa-Shimada

Akiko Sugawa-Shimada is a Professor of the Graduate School of the Urban Innovation at Yokohama National University in Japan. She specializes in Cultural Studies (anime, manga, games), Gender Studies, Audience Studies, and Contents Tourism. (Contents Tourism is travelling to a place specifically for the pop-culture feels, i.e., the desire to visit a town in Gifu because it inspired the fictional location in the anime Your Name.)

Dr. Sugawa-Shimada’s current research centers on Manga of/for Women in Asia, Cosplay and 2.5-dimensional musicals, and Contents Tourism. She is the author of numerous books and papers on Japanese pop culture, including 2.5-dimentional Culture Studies: Stage Plays, Characters, and Fandoms and Representations of Magical Girls and Japanese Female Viewership.

About Dr. Zihui Amethy Lu

Zihui Amethy Lu is a Junior Fellow in the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts at Southern University of Science and Technology, China, and specializes in popular theater in Japan and China, popular culture in contemporary Japan, and intermediality in theater and performance. She received her PhD in Japanese Studies from National University of Singapore. Currently she is working on a manuscript on the development and industry of Japanese 2.5-dimensional theater.

About Dr. Mayuko Fujiwara

Mayuko Fujiwara is an invited researcher of Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum, Tokyo, and is a lecturer of Aoyama Gakuin University and other academic institutions. She received her PhD from Waseda University. Her interests are in stage musicals, Broadway musicals, and Japanese musical theater. Her paper On Musical The Prince of Tennis: An Approach to 2.5 Dimensional Musicals compares the musicals between 2.5D and Broadway.

To register for the panel discussion, please visit JFNY’s Eventbrite page.