NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2007/5/18


久田見祭り Kutami-matsuri Kutami Festival

Jp En

Kutami Festival is held in Shinmei at the Shirahige Shrine. The festival takes place in spring when the cherry trees are in full blossom and there is a freshness in the air. The festival features six gorgeous floats that parade through the town to lively music.

The highlight of the festival is the 'thread-separating trick', which has been designated as a National Intangible Folklore Cultural Asset and a Prefectural Important Folklore Cultural Asset. The 'trick' is a kind of marionette performance. Threads are not directly linked to the 'trick', which is enacted using an original technique that differs to usual puppetry. The performance is highly valued in terms of both history and art.

This unique marionette performance changes its theme every year and may center around, for example, a folk tale, recent news, popular animation or sports. Each year presents something new and refreshing.
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2007/1/25


安乗人形芝居 Anori-ningyou-shibai Anori Puppet Play

Jp En

Anori ningyo shibai is a puppet play performed at the Anori Jinja Temple in Ago-cho, Shima-shi, Mie Prefecture. This puppet play has been passed down as a form of dedication to gods during festivals at Anori Jinja, and is a folk entertainment with a history of about 400 years.

Anori ningyo shibai dates back to 1592, when the Lord of Shima, Kuki Yoshitaka, visited and prayed at Anori-no-Hachimangu (today's Anori Jinja) before participating in the Bunroku-no-Eki (Toyotomi Hideyoshi's Invasion of Korea). Kuki was successful in Korea. On his return, to show his gratitude for the divine protection he was given, he ordered a puppet performance, which is thought to be the origin of the Anori ningyo shibai.

What is unique about Anori ningyo shibai is that each doll takes three people to maneuver. Although it is difficult to synchronize their movements, having three people operating one doll enables them to perform a variety of gestures, motions and dynamic movements. This performance in which three people maneuver one doll can only be seen in Bunraku puppetry. In 1980, Anori ningyo shibai was designated as a significant intangible folk cultural asset of Japan.
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2007/1/11


直島女文楽 Naoshima-onna-bunraku Naoshima-onna-bunraku (Naoshima Women's Puppetry)

Jp En

Naoshima-onna-bunraku is a form of traditional puppetry that has been designated as an intangible cultural asset of Kagawa Prefecture.
   It dates back to the Edo period from its beginnings on Naoshima island in Kagawa Prefecture. Naoshima island is in the Seto Inland Sea, near Shikoku, the smallest and least populated of Japan's four main islands. Naoshima is close to Okayama Prefecture on the mainland in Honshu.
   During the Edo period, the fiefdom of the lord of Naoshima (of the Takahara clan) was confiscated, falling under direct government control. The new Edo government lifted prohibitions on entertainment for the public. Entertainments thrived, including Kabuki (traditional Japanese theater where performers wear elaborate make-up) and Noh (classical Japanese   drama). The Naoshima-onna-bunraku originated from a form of puppetry, at this time, called Ningyo-jyoururi, in which dolls performed to shamisen music. However, during the Meiji period, bunraku puppetry on Naoshima lost popularity and eventually died out.
   However, during the Showa period, the art of Bunraku here was revived and restored by three women, and since then only women have performed Bunraku.  
   While playing the shamisen, three women maneuver one doll or puppet and narrate a story. Bunraku is indeed a tradition of great substance in Japanese culture.
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