What we do


  • Organization : Public Interest Incorprated Foundation Edo Marionette Theatre YOUKIZA
  • Section : Artistic and creative activity in Tokyo
  • Type of Grant Program : Single
  • Art Forms : Theater


Youkiza, an Edo Ito Ayatsuri Ningyo (traditional Japanese marionette theater) group with a history of over 380 years, has been designated a National Selected Intangible Folk Cultural Property and a Tokyo Municipal Intangible Cultural Property. Freely using its own techniques and expressive power, Youkiza will perform a play by leading contemporary theater writer/producer Wishing Chong. This is a repeat performance of a work originally written and performed in 2007.
In this play, people living in an area called Doll’s Town during the devastation of World War Two are played by puppets, and people in the postwar period looking back on that time are played by human actors. The postwar roles of traveling middle-aged puppeteers Okame and Hyottoko are performed by actual puppeteers.
This moving story depicts common people, with their weaknesses and strengths, who survive the war years. Audiences will laugh, cry and marvel at this comical yet tragic spectacle woven through the interaction of puppets and human beings.

Principal performers: Magosaburo Youki XII, Chie Youki, Ikuko Youki, Kazuma Youki, Izuna Oka and other Youkiza puppeteers
Principal personnel
Writer/producer: Wishing Chong
Music: J.A. Seazer
Puppet design: Kazunori Watanabe
Stage design: Yoko Isonuma (deceased in 2011; based on the plan for the premiere)
Stage direction: Hitoshi Yoshiki
Lighting: Takayoshi Masuda
Sound: Akame Fujita


【Magosaburo Youki XII (Ryokawa Senyu) – birth name Katsumasa Tanaka)】
Born as the second son of Magosaburo X, Magosaburo XII made his stage debut as a puppeteer at age four. He went on to study various traditional performing arts including Kabuki, Noh and Kyogen. In 1976 he received the name Ryokawa Senyu III, and in 1992 succeeded to the name Magosaburo as Magosaburo XII. His theatrical career spans approximately 70 years.
In addition to carrying on the tradition of classical Edo Ayatsuri Ningyo plays, Magosaburo XII ambitiously undertakes theatrical productions with dramatists in Japan and overseas, and in recent years has been particularly active in carrying out international collaborations. He also places importance on training the next generation of puppeteers. He opened a puppeteering school in 2004, and since then he has been disseminating and teaching Edo Ayatsuri Ningyo to members of the general public.


Maki Sawada
Public Interest Incorprated Foundation Edo Marionette Theatre YOKIZA
3-18-2 Nukui-Kitamachi,Koganei-Shi,Tokyo,Japan 184-0015


The Suzunari (Setagaya City, Tokyo)