National Geographic : 1970 Mar
skillful female impersonators have played their roles. We took a box under the first balcony and sat cross legged on small cushions on the floor. Promptly at eleven in the morning the show began with Act III of Imoseyama Onna Teikin-the famous Yoshino River scene. The sound of hardwood blocks clacking together hushed the audience. A stagehand dressed in black hauled back the curtain, revealing a scene of cherry blossoms along a tinfoil river. On each bank stood a Japanese mansion. A row of musicians, kneeling at the side of the stage, plucked vague melodies, and a chanter began to narrate the unfolding drama. "The story is taken from Japanese history," Kadowaki-san explained. "Old Kiyozumi and Sadaka are fighting over a piece of land. But Kiyozumi's son Kuganosuke has fallen in love with Sadaka's beautiful daughter Hinadori-there she is, floating a message across the river. "A tyrant, Iruka, orders Kiyozumi's son to work for 326 Keeping cool in an inferno ROM THE REFUGE of an air conditioned booth (right), a moni tor at a steel mill in Kobe supervises activities on the plant's casting floor. Incandescent ribbons of steel (above) flow continuously from a source five stories up; remote-controlled torches operated by another monitor, rear right, spill cascades of sparks as they chop up the fiery bars. Such ultramodern techniques have helped catapult Japan into the fore front of the world's industrial powers. After a phoenixlike rise from the ashes of World War II, the nation today trails only the United States and the Soviet Union in industrial output.