How Japanese is The Mikado?

The Mikado - Savoy Theatre 1885You know The Mikado – it’s the comic opera by Gilbert and Sullivan, with the ‘little list’ of things that won’t be missed that gets rewritten to satirise whatever politicians are in power every time a new production appears. I ask because the English National Opera has six performances coming up at the end of the month, from 21st to 31st January.

Their highly successful Jonathan Miller production sets the whole thing in a 1930’s seaside hotel in Britain. Which makes a lot of sense, as much of the enjoyment in the Mikado comes from poking fun at British customs and institutions. But how Japanese is The Mikado?
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