Foreign Friday: Backstage Prince

This week’s Foreign Friday title is Backstage Prince by Kanoko Sakurakoji.

The Story

Drawn into the exciting world of kabuki theatre, young Akari spends her time after school assisting the famous actor, Shonosuke Ichimura. In the real world, however, this prince of kabuki is actually a high school cutie named Ryusei. The pair’s relationship gets off on the wrong foot but eventually, with the help of a cat known as Mr. Ken, the two teenagers fall in love.

The Characters

Akari is a normal girl who isn’t interesting in flashy boys out of a distrust that they are faithful. Ryusei is a brilliant kabuki actor, but hates people.The more they are around each other, the more Akari’s awkwardness softens and the more she is able to draw out and understand the subtle behaviors of her antisocial boss. Accordingly, Ryusei slowly lets her in, giving the story a nice emotional depth.

What I Thought

I love the sorts of series that combine a good romance with interesting trivia that I would never have looked up for myself. Not only does Sakurakoji bring compelling characters to her story, she also offers a glimpse of the world of kabuki theater, and for those of (such as Americans like myself) it is a simple and entertaining way to learn a little bit about the traditional theater of Japan, and also what it looks like today. It is a very enjoyable read, and is complete in two volumes, both available in English in the U.S.

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