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Princess Tenko illusions seem sooo real

By: By Bill Charles

Date Posted: 2011-08-17

Imagine what would happen if the sun and moon were to collide…would there be creation…or destruction?

Okinawa has a chance to visualize such a scenario as The Princess and the Grand Wizard open forbidden doors and meet face to face at a pair of shows at the Okinawa Convention Center this Sunday. Princess Tenko, who last presented her illusions to Okinawan audiences 16 months ago, is teaming with Japan’s leading magician, Mr. Maric, for the two presentations.

The 51-year-old illusionist, who performs routinely across Asia, excites audiences with performances that contain elements of traditional magic, but also 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.

Teaming with the Princess is one of Japan’s best known magicians, Mr. Maric, often referred to as the Merchant of Magic. He has established a whole new magic genre 'Cho-Majutsu' meaning ‘Supernatural Illusions’, but in recent years has created a big magic boom in Japan. Since his first workshops specializing in his particular style of magic 30 years ago Mr. Maric has focused on magic props. In addition to creating, he is lecturing at magic schools and managing correspondence courses for magic lovers in Japan.

The two shows are at the Okinawa Convention Center on Sunday, August 21st, starting at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. A special discount campaign has been set for US Military personnel: SS seat tickets are available for just $50 at Mail Center concessions on Kadena AB and Foster Service Mall. Be quick, though, as there only 200 such advance tickets available! The special tickets are available for both the matinee and evening show. There are also 100 matinee show tickets for the second floor seats in the Convention Center Theater for ¥2,000 each.

At the show on the 21st each member of the audience will be provided with a spoon and under Mr. Maric's guidance will have an opportunity to try their mind at spoon-bending. With his signature shades Mr. Maric is a well-known master magician on Japanese TV and is particularly famous for spoon-bending. Previous event reports claim that 95% of participants succeeded in bending their spoons!

What's more, between August 24th and September 4th in Naha's Kokusai Street on the second floor of Eisho Building, Princess Tenko's Michael Jackson memorabilia exhibition takes place. Although the regular entrance fee is ¥1,500, US Military personnel can enjoy a discounted entrance fee of only $10, and that price includes a free soft drink to boot. Minors aged 17 years of age or under get in free, and also receive a free soft drink. These tickets are also available in the Mail Centers on Kadena and Foster Services Malls.

There will be around 60 items on display, including Michael's personal effects. An uncut version of the documentary film “This Is It” will run throughout the course of the exhibition. Look out for more details in next week's issue of Japan Update!


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