Aratani/Japan America Theatre
Holding its gala grand opening in April 1983, with Kabuki from the National Theatre of Japan, the Aratani/Japan America Theatre is an 880-seat, medium-sized theatre with excellent acoustics and a warm, intimate ambience. More than $4.2 million of the $6.4 million cost of the Theatre was raised in Japan by a group headed by former Ambassador to the United States, Nobuhiko Ushiba, and Shintaro Fukushima, chairman of the Japan Times.
A unique feature of the Theatre is the custom-made doncho (curtain) of handwoven silk, made in Kyoto, featuring a colorful giant peacock soaring over a flurry of cherry blossom petals. The only other donchos in the United States are in the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and Radio City Music Hall in New York.
The acoustical system was the gift of the Matsushita Electric Industrial Corporation of Japan. The computerized lighting and a simultaneous translation system are also a part of the Theatre's equipment. Fan-shaped with good sightlines unhampered by posts, it is a perfect, intimate and comfortable venue for chamber music, dance and drama.
On December 21, 2001, the theater was renamed the George and Sakaye Aratani/Japan America Theatre.