Bunraku As Modified And Performed In Madama Butterfly

~By Norm Robins~

Bunraku is a type of traditional Japanese theater that uses puppets three to four feet high and manipulated by three puppeteers, each one working a different part of the puppet’s body. They must do this in unison, no small feat.

Bunraku was founded in Osaka in the 17th Century. Traditionally it uses puppeteers, singers, and shamisen (a 3-stringed instrument) players. It has been entertaining Japanese audiences for centuries.

The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (pronounced AH-bay) early on in its administration wanted to encourage tourism to Japan. They convinced Japanese TV station NHK to put on an informational series called “Japanology”. It explored many aspects of Japanese culture, at times beautifully. This video clip is one of them.

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