Japan’s mistress of illusion

Japan’s mistress of illusion

091229_17
Class act: Famed Japanese illusionist Princess Tenko will bring her world-class act to Cambodia in January, performing shows at NagaWorld.

The first woman to be awarded Magician of the Year, singer, movie director, painter and illusionist Princess Tenko has even more tricks up her sleeve.

The show is not related to magic or the supernatural, because if you look from left, right, or behind, it is only illusion.

Like a princess in a Japanese cartoon, Princess Tenko’s beauty attracts her audience, who do not want to take their eyes off her.

Tenko’s beautiful face appears in a shroud of white smoke and soft red light – but is this effect just one of the tricks of her illusion show? Who knows – because with Princess Tenko, the boundaries between reality and illusion vanish.

If we see her from afar, she appears as a mercurial 20-year-old girl – but look a little closer and it is difficult to guess her age because her beauty has not faded.

What is known of Princess Tenko is that she was born Mariko Itakura in Arai, Japan, in 1959. And while Princess Tenko is a mere pseudonym for this famous Japanese illusionist, there is indeed a “real”cartoon princess by that name.

The US-produced Princess Tenko and the Guardians of the Magic ran from 1995-96. At the end of each installment, the “real” Princess Tenko (will the real Princess Tenko please stand up?) would appear on stage to teach a magic trick or perform an illusion. The world’s largest toymaker, Mattel, also produced a line of fashion dolls named after her.

Having mader her debut in Japan as a pop singer and actress, she is also known as a stage director, movie director, video photographer and painter.

Following the death of Hikita Tenko, a famous artist and illusionist in Japan, Princess Tenko was chosen from his apprentices as the heir to his name. She now performs an average of 300 shows per year worldwide.

The first woman to be awarded Magician of the Year from the Academy of Magic Arts in the United States, she has taken her place alongside renowned illusionists such as David Copperfield and Doug Henning.

Princess Tenko achieved worldwide fame following her debut at the Radio City Music Hall in the US in 1994 – and also performed in North Korea in 1998 and 2000 as part of the Friendship Art Festival in Pyongyang, stating that she wanted to meet Korean artists.

And now this princess of illusion is coming to perform at NagaWorld.

But Tenko says her audience should be under no illusions that what she does is no more than stagecraft.

“The show is not related to magic or the supernatural, because if you look from left, right or behind, it is only an illusion,” she said.

Speaking at a press conference at NagaWorld last Wednesday, Princess Tenko said her performances at the casino next month will be the first shows in the region for her and her group.

NagaWorld’s vice president of marketing, Eric Chan, said that by staging an event with such a well-known performer, organisers hoped to attract travellers to Cambodia.

“Especially Japanese travellers, because the show of Princess Tenko in Cambodia will also be broadcast in Japan,” Chan said.

She has taught her techniques to young people in China, and says she now has a wish to teach young Cambodian people as well.

“I am interested in young people here, and finding out about their interests,” Princess Tenko says.

“I am thinking of what I will show to interest them.”

The shows run from January 20 to 22 at 6:30pm. Tickets range from $65 to $75, and include a four-course dinner.

MOST VIEWED

  • Oil producers see oversupply

    Major oil producers said on Sunday that crude supply next year would outstrip demand, calling for new strategies based on production adjustments. Khalid al-Falih, Energy Minister of the world’s top supplier Saudi Arabia, said the kingdom would cut its production by 500,000 barrels per day (

  • ‘Historic’ Khmer Rouge tribunal Case 002/2 verdict to be delivered

    The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) are to deliver the verdict on Friday, in the trial of former Khmer Rouge leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, in a pronouncement hailed as a “historic event for Cambodia and the world”. The verdict from

  • Record set for world’s longest dragon boat

    Cambodia broke the world record for the longest dragon boat – a title previously held by China, Guinness World Records adjudicator Pravin Patel said on Monday. He verified the record on the east bank of the Mekong river, in Prey Veng province’s Peamro district. “With

  • Analyst: Government appointments ‘a waste of national budget’

    The government has appointed over 200 officials as undersecretaries of state, secretaries of state, assistants and advisers at various institutions since October 1. While senior officials said the appointments were aimed at ensuring higher efficiency at the national level, social analysts said the practice is merely power-sharing