The Itoayatsuri Ningyou (Ningyou Joruri traditional puppet theater) of Japan boasts a theatricality unlike any other marionette tradition in the world. However, because there is no permanent theater space, classical marionette performances are rarely available to audiences. Marionette troupe ISSHI-ZA has explored the possibility of offering more accessible and inexpensive Ningyou Joruri, a tradition which developed among ordinary people. Last year, the troupe gave a well-received performance in one of the historic Edo-period buildings preserved in the Furusato Mura in Kodaira City, where the troupe is based. This year the group planned a performance in the Kodaira Hirakushi Denchu Art Museum. The hope was that performing Ningyou Joruri in a building loved by locals would also bring in visitors from neighboring towns and cities, and lead to wider appreciation and knowledge of both the Denchu Art Museum and Itoayatsuri Ningyou.
Date musume koi no higanoko (Yaoya Oshichi)
Puppets: Isshi Yuki, Tamiko Yuki, Keita Yuki, Nobuhisa Kaneko, Marina Negishi (Itoayatsuri Ningyou ISSHI-ZA)
Joruri: Ayanosuke Takemoto, Ayakazu Takemoto
Shamisen: Misuzu Tsuruzawa, Yaya Tsuruzawa (the Gidayu Association)
Itoayatsuri Ningyou ISSHI-ZA／Isshi Yuki
Isshi Yuki, Itoayatsuri Ningyou ISSHI-ZA
The third son of the late Magosaburo Yuki the 10th, in 1972 he assumed the name Isshi Yuki the 3rd. In 2003 he became independent from Youkiza and founded Edo Itoayatsuri Ningyou-za in 2005. The name was changed to Itoayatsuri Ningyou ISSHI-ZA in 2015. As well as performing classical Edo marionette theater works, he has tackled works by Kenji Miyazawa, Euripides, Bataille, Brecht and Artaud amongst others, and performs overseas to high acclaim.
In 2015 Yuki was invited by the University of Bologna in Italy to perform “Excerpts from Classical Works and Artaud 24 heures Encore” on the theme of tradition and the avant-garde. At the same time, he held workshops for students and a public symposium with Artaud researchers over the course of three days. Isshi is constantly making new discoveries in classical marionette theater and creating a succession of experimental theatrical forms for his new works, collaborating with people beyond the confines of the marionette genre.
Itoayatsuri Ningyou ISSHI-ZA
3F, 2-14-21, Gakuennishimachi, Kodaira City, Tokyo 187-0045
Kodaira Hirakushi Denchu Art Museum, Kodaira City, Tokyo