Author: Tamiko Onagi

“M and B”, a successful amateur company, in Kushibiki Town, Japan

Why the well known amateur company “M and B” go every year to play at Kushibiki Town? This year, they have been playing from 29th August to 1st September, two shows on 30th Aug and two more on 31st Aug. To find the answer, I joined their tour to understand the secrets of their success. The venue was the Public House of Kushibiki in Yamagata prefecture, in northeastern Japan. “M and B” show. Photo by Tamiko Onagi I have to say that “M and B” is an amateur puppet company founded in1993, with a repertoire of 10-15 shows. “M”...

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The Iida Puppet Festival in Japan, against Nuclear Power

An entire city becomes host and stage of the biggest puppet festival in Japan. What began in 1979 with a few troupes and a few shows has today grown into a huge event that spreads across 4 days, 400 shows, and an attendance of 40,000. Tamiko Onagi, President of Unima Japan, has reported that this year the festival sold 12,000 tickets for free attendance to the shows (for amateur puppeteers and other stakeholders). This year, Festival participants have expressed clearly against Nuclear Power. A rock n’roll show created by a group of puppeteers from different companies, including the Puk...

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Amateur Puppet Theatre in Japan

When you think of Japanese puppetry, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Perhaps Bunraku, which is the most internationally renowned art of Japanese puppetry.  However, there are a number of other traditional puppet theaters in Japan.   In local communities all over Japan, from the northern prefectures to the southern islands, there are traditional puppet theaters of  various styles: puppets manipulated by three puppeteers (like Bunraku), hand puppets, rod puppets and many others.  Always, some companies were professional, while others enjoyed puppetry as a pastime in their lives.  Some puppet theaters became extinguished as society changed, but...

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