Bunraku!! An amateur performance was fantastic. Local groups of people are active in the city of Tokushima—even children. This city is famous for Ningyo Joruri another name for bunrako. The more emotional the story is, the better. Many women play the puppets and they get emotional too, according to a video telling about the players. It take three people to work one puppet. At this point in the performance all were on stage at once. It was just before the tear jerker ending. [click photos to enlarge]
Here the mother is sewing. They even had her cut off the thread with her teeth with a nice jerk of her head! All along was music from a samisen and voices doing the dialogue of the mother and her daughter.
At the end of the show the puppeteers came out on stage. Many women are doing this now in the amateur world but the professionals are always men still. The group performs twice a day every day with different groups giving the performances. The company is Awa Jutobe Yashiki that we saw today. I understand there is a lot done in Tokushima now days.
There is a small museum attached to the theater and we were given a private tour along with the video before the performance began. Here you can see levers that operate the head and face. Notice above the eyebrows where they would go up and down.
The person who controls the head and one arm must stand on these platforms to be tall enough. I think we were told that would be the major puppeteer.
I even got a chance to work the head and eyes of one of the dolls. Cathy made the video.
At the end of the show the audience was invited to have our pictures taken with the puppets that were in the performance. What a treat the whole experience was.