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Illusions seem real with Princess Tenko

Date Posted: 2010-03-25

Princess Tenko likes to think of her performances as very special illusions, but most who watch will call it magic. By whichever name, her show goes on stage at the Okinawa City Civic Center next Wednesday evening.

The 50-year-old illusionist, who performs routinely across Asia and the U.S., is making her second Okinawa appearance in nine months after an absence of more than nine years. She’ll perform two shows at the Civic Center on the 31st, one at 2:30 p.m. and a second starting at 7 p.m. Parking is free in the lot in front of the Civic Center.

Her performances contain elements of traditional magic, but also introduces monster type animals. Since her North American debut in 1994 at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall, Princess Tenko has achieved worldwide fame. She’s had an American magical-girl-inspired cartoon series developed on the basis of her feats, and the toymaker giant Mattel created a line of fashion dolls in her likeness.

She learned her craft from a master, Tenko Hikita. Mariko Itakura is her real name, but after spending years with Hikita, he bestowed his name upon her before his death in 1980.

A former Japanese pop singer and artist, Princess Tenko performs an average of 300 shows a year. She was chosen Magician of the Year in 1990 by the Academy of Magic Arts in the United States, joining other magician notables as David Copperfield and Doug Henning. Princess Tenko was the first female ever to win the award.

Tickets are on sale for ¥4,000 for reserved seats, and ¥3,000 for standard seats. Tickets are available at MCCS Tours Plus by calling 646-3502. The Okinawa City Civic Center is reached by coming out of Kadena Air Base Gate 2,turning left onto Route 23, past Korinza Mall on the right.

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