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Why is the operetta called The Mikado when the Mikado is not the central figure?

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2008-11-07 03:51:55

Although he is not the leading character in the operetta, The

Mikado dominates the action throughout by his unseen presence in

Act I, and when he majestically appears later in Act II. He is the

ruler of Japan and all-powerful; his Word is Law! Much of the

action centres around the intentions, desires and wishes of The

Mikado. Besides , the operetta would not have sounded quite so

grand or memorable if Gilbert & Sullivan had chosen the name of

one of the major characters, such as 'Yum-Yum', 'Nanki-Poo' or

'Ko-Ko' The word "Mikado" itself was an archaic Japanese term for

the "Emperor of Japan." Chosen during a period of intense popular

interest in the orient, and Japan in particular, the choice of such

a name for the opera increased its public profile during the

original run of the piece.

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