Japanese puppet show

  Puppet show – Bunraku is one of Japan’s three major classical stage art forms alongside Kabuki and Noh. As early as the Heian period (794-1191), there were puppet performers (puppets) wandering the streets in Japan. It is said that their skills may have come from Central Asia. In the 16th century, puppets were called to Kyoto to perform for the royal family. Bunraku, a puppet show accompanied by Doshi and musical instruments, was mainly developed during the Edo Shogunate period (1603-1867) and prospered in Osaka. After the Meiji period, puppetry began to decline. In 1955, Bunraku was listed as an important intangible cultural heritage by the Japanese government.
  The word “Bunraku” comes from the name of the theater group “Bunrakuza” organized by Uemura Bunrakusen, a puppet master in the early 19th century. The Encyclopedia Britannica explains: In Japanese, the term for the word puppet is “fuck.” The art of rap with Japanese sanxian accompaniment is called “Joruri”. Therefore, a more accurate term for this kind of puppet show is “Fuck the net glass”. (Note: The term “Zoru Li” comes from an early popular singing work, which is about the love story of a samurai and Joruri Ji.)
  At present, the height of the puppets ranges from 0.3 to 1.2 meters. They have more than 70 kinds of wooden heads, hands and legs, but no body (female dolls have no legs or feet because they are covered by clothing). The main puppet requires 3 manipulators. Dressed in 18th-century clothing, the chief manipulator in the foreground manipulates the head and right hand to move the eyes, eyebrows, lips and fingers. The two assistants wore black clothes and black hoods, so that the audience could not see the faces of the two, they manipulated their left hands, legs and feet. In the case of a female puppet, the kimono is manipulated to swing. The luthier playing the shamisen on the side of the screen not only accompanies the narrator singing artist, but also coordinates the movement rhythm of all the actors according to the different rhythms of the plot. The skills of puppet masters require long-term training to achieve complete synchronization of operations, so that the movements of the puppets are exactly the same as those of real people, and the feelings of the puppets can be vividly expressed.
  Although the puppet show uses puppets, it is not a children’s play. In the 18th century, Bunraku puppetry culminated in the play of Kinmatsumonzaemon (Japanese playwright, 1653-1725) and the wonderful singing style of Dr. Takemoto Yoshihide (1651-1714). Considered Japan’s greatest playwright, Kinmatsu wrote more than 100 plays in his lifetime, most of them for Bunraku puppet shows. Its script brilliantly expresses the complex love and hate feelings of ordinary people between traditional moral concepts and real society. The Bunraku puppet show was warmly welcomed when it toured abroad.

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