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Cool Japan / Bunraku (文楽)

File:Man playing shamisen.jpg
(tayu and shamisen player)

On Nov 19, 2011, I have enjoyed Bunraku at National Puppet Theater in Osaka with Foreign Tourist in to Japan.
Bunraku (文楽), also known as Ningyo joruri (人形浄瑠璃), is a form of traditional Japanese puppet theater, founded in Osaka in 1684.

Three kinds of performers take part in a bunraku performance:
* Ningyotsukai or Ningyozukai—puppeteers
* Tayū—the chanters
* Shamisen players
Occasionally other instruments such as taiko drums will be used.
文楽 Video by YouTube

The most accurate term for the traditional puppet theater in Japan is ningyo joruri. The combination of chanting and shamisen playing is called jōruri and the Japanese word for puppet (or dolls, generally) is ningyo.
Bunraku puppetry has been a documented traditional activity for Japanese for hundreds of years.
http://www.kissport.or.jp/column/dentou-geino-bunraku/img/bunraku1_illu4.gif

Originally, the term "Bunraku" referred only to the particular theater established in 1612 in Osaka, which was named the Bunrakuza after the puppeteering ensemble of Uemura Bunrakuken(植村文楽軒), an early 19th century puppeteer on Awaji, whose efforts revived the flagging fortunes of the traditional puppet theater in the 19th century.
File:Osonowiki.jpg
(The character Osono, from the play Hadenoto Sugatinowa Onna Maiginutomatsu, in a performance
by the hondashimoto Traditional Puppet Troupe of Nagahama, Shiga Prefecture.)

The later prominence of the National Bunraku Theater of Japan, which is a descendant of the theater founded by Bunrakken, popularized the name "Bunraku" in the 20th century to the point that many Japanese now use the term to refer generically to any traditional puppet theater in Japan.
http://www2.edu.ipa.go.jp/gz/g1bun1/g11gyo/g1g103.jpg
(Bunraku Scene)

However, almost all of the traditional puppet troupes currently in existence outside Osaka were founded and named long before the appearance of Uemura Bunrakukken and his theater, so they generally do not use the word to describe themselves. Exceptions are the few troupes that were organized by puppeteers from the Bunraku-za or its successors who left Osaka to found theaters in the provinces.

By TS on Dec 12, 2011
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