“Traditional Puppet Theater: Bound by Spirits”

In a small mountain village in Ishikawa Prefecture, a traditional form of puppet theater has been handed down by local people for over 350 years. The art is called Bunya Ningyo Joruri Puppet Theater, and the puppeteers bring the puppets of simple construction to life by controling them all alone. The stage is enlivened by the evocative recitation called “Bunya-bushi” and powerful foot stomping, stage techniques that have been preserved since ancient times. Why and how has this unique art form been so carefully passed down over the centuries? Through excerpts from a popular program in their repertoire titled “Taishokukan” (The Stolen Crystal Jewel), we explore the passionate feelings that the local people put into their puppet manipulation.

Presented by The Japan Foundation (JF) (https://www.jpf.go.jp/e/)

<Program Credits>
Performers: 【Higashi Futakuchi Puppet Theater】
Production Assistance:Higashi Futakuchi Folk Museum, Hakusan City
Additional Materials: National Diet Library, General Library, The University of Tokyo
Reference materials:
“Thoughts on the History of the Development of Japanese Ningyo Joruri” by KAWAJIRI Taiji
“Living Puppet Theater” by NAGATA Koukichi
“Traditional Puppet Theater in the Modern Age” by UNO Koshiro
Video Image Production: NHK ENTERPRISES, INC.
Video Image Producers: HAMANO Takahiro, TAKAKI Eiji
Video Image Director: FUJITA Masao
Video Edit: KUBOYAMA Tomoka

<Subtitling Credits>
English Translation: TOYOZAKI Yoko, Stuart VARNAM-ATKIN
Chinese Translation (Simplified): Hanqing ZUO
Chinese Translation (Traditional): Yunhsien LIANG
French Translation: NAKAJIMA Naoko
Indonesian Translation: Dewi ANGGRAENI
Russian Translation: Tatiana SOKOLOVA DELUSINA
Spanish Translation: Mauricio MARTINEZ (https://www.japonartesescenicas.org)

© The Japan Foundation (JF) All Rights Reserved

End date of distribution: 3/2/2027