Hiroshi Watanabe – Ena Bunraku

25.07.2011 in13:59 in Documentary -->


FACES: Ena Bunraku

The first existing document on Ena Bunraku was written in 1682, when a play was performed in the village of Kaware in Ena County of Gifu Prefecture in Japan. The small village is at the foot of Ena Mountain outside of Nakatsugawa. At that time Bunraku was becoming a thriving art form in Japan, especially in Osaka 200 miles away. According to that document, a traveling Bunraku company from Awaji Island visited the village and performed a play for the villagers. After the play, a rich farmer in the audience convinced the villagers to build a small theater and dedicate Bunraku plays to the village shrine. That marked the beginning of Ena Bunraku.

Bunraku, a traditional Japanese stage art performed with puppets, was created during the Edo period. The puppets are about one meter tall and are usually manipulated by three puppeteers who make the puppets appear alive. The puppet’s faces vividly display emotions while the puppeteers are visible on stage dressed in black outfits. Bunraku plays are also accompanied by traditional musical instruments known as Shamisen together with a singer-narrator who tells the story with deeply felt emotions.