Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bunraku Puppet Theater

Yesterday I went to the National Bunraku Puppet Theater in Osaka to see the traditional Japanese puppet performance, usually called "Bunraku" in Japanese.  I am a Bunraku fan because it is a very special world. It is unique in various points.

First, the story is narrated by a high-level chanter with the accompaniment of shamisen music, who changes his voice into various characters and attracts the audience.
Second, in most of the world's puppet theaters, great pains have been taken to hide the manipulation of the puppeteers from the audience. But in Bunraku, the manipulators appear openly, in full view
of the audience.
Third, furthermore, each puppet is manipulated by three puppeteers: main puppeteer(head and right hand), left puppeteer and third puppeteer (lower part).
Lastly, the theme is not for kids. Probably you imagine puppet play is mainly for kids, but the theme of Bunraku is for adults, such as  avenge, infidelity and double suicide. Far away from fantasy. Bunraku started in the 17th century when the third military government united Japan (Tokugawa era) and it was under a feudal system. At that time there was a clear status system and it was difficult to love freely. All the stories are based on the lives in the Tokugawa era. Samurai world.

The theater offers earphone guide service  so as to understand the story easily. English earphone guide service is available for YOU.
Enjoy Bunraku in English.


  1. Really interesting to know.

  2. Good morning, Annie, I've never been to a puppet theater, we have very few, and your video, I can not even watch, too bad ...
    it is determined to play hard something like that ...

    Greetings from graphs of heart Geli, who now drives for water aerobics

    1. My video is from YouTube "Japanese Theater 2:Bunraku".
      Is something wrong with the computer?

    2. Hi Annie, now I'm looking at youTube and Japanese theater * 2: * Bunraku entered and I could see it ... thanks for pointing ...
      It is difficult to determine with the dolls on the ropes to play, so people understand it really well ...

      Japanese music is very strange to our ears, but if you do everything in context, fits everything together ..

      thank you that you may never even see here ...

      a great Thursday and best wishes again from Geli and I hope and wish that you all can understand my words more ...

  3. I never heard of Bunraku. But, I watched the video - and I loved it!! I think that if I went to a performance, I would not want the English headphones, because then I could not hear the Japanese man speaking. I can actually tell what is going on anyway just from the inflections in his voice and the movement of the puppets!

    Great post! Thank you!

  4. Fascinating, Annie. I saw the water puppets in Vietnam last year and they were amazing, too.

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

    hugs, Kaye xoxox

  5. I would love to see one of these performances. How lucky that you got to see them! Is this a famous company?

  6. Fascinating, Annie. I saw a documentary on Bunraku some time ago and when I visit Japan I definitely want to see a live performance!

  7. Hi Annie, is it possible to see Bunraku anywhere else than National Bunraku Theater? As far as I know, performances are usually held there only in January, April, June, August and November.

    1. Hi Agniezka,
      Thank you for visiting my blog. I understand Bunraku performance is first held in National Bunraku Theater of Osaka and then in National Theater of Tokyo. Please check the website.

    2. Thank you very much! agnieszka