NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2007/1/11


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

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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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