Bunraku puppet – Masterpiece of Japanese cultural heritage
Bunraku puppet is a professional Japanese puppet art. This is a long-standing art form, developed by the population in the Edo period (1603-1867). In 2003, Bunraku was recognized by UNESCO as one of the human and intangible heritage masterpieces of humanity.
In Bunraku puppet art, the puppet is about two-thirds or half of the real person and is controlled by three people: one main curator and two assistants.
Puppet Bunraku is not controlled by wires but instead, the controllers will use their hands to control the movement of the limbs, eyebrows, and mouth of the puppet, thereby creating action gestures, strokes face like a real person. People who control puppets often wear black clothes, only the main operator show his face and the assistants even cover their heads to become “invisible” in the eyes of the audience.
The theme of Bunraku often talks about classic tragedies, legends or stories of heroes based on historical events. These stories are told by a single chanter called tayu, who voices all puppets so they need to have a variety of expressions and different high tone of voice to switch to other characters.
Also, in Bunraku, the movements of the puppets must match the story of tayu and the shamisen sound. Musicians playing shamisen are usually the ones who decide the storytelling speed and time for puppet action.
Today, when coming to Japan, visitors can enjoy the Bunraku puppet show in modern European-style theaters such as the National Bunraku Theater (Osaka), Tokyo National Theater … In addition, these The theater also provides rental services for English interpreters, helping the audience gain a deeper understanding of the art.