Hachioji Kuruma Ningyo Puppetry & Gidayu Narrative Music
Lecture & Workshop
Wednesday, May 2, 2012 7:30 pm
Hickman Building, room HHB-105, University of Victoria
The Hachioji Kuruma Ningyo puppet theatre will present a talk about the unique style of the kuruma ningyo puppetry and traditional accompanying music, Gidayu-bushi, followed by a demonstration of how the puppets are manipulated and the shamisen played with a possible hands-on opportunity for audience members, time permitting.
Hachioji Kuruma Ningyo
Hachioji Kuruma Ningyo is a form of puppet theatre created by Nishikawa Koryu I nearly 150 years ago, in the late Edo Period. It is called “Kuruma Ningyo” because the puppeteer sits on a small seat with roller wheels (rokuro kuruma) when operating a puppet (ningyo). This small seat, and the fact that only one person is needed to operate each puppet, distinguishes Kuruma Ningyo from Bunraku, another form of traditional Japanese puppetry in which three people are needed to operate each puppet. The one-to-one relationship between puppeteer and puppet in Kuruma Ningyo allows great flexibility and realism as the puppet and puppeteer move in unison.
The present company, the Hachioji Kuruma Puppet Theater, was formed in 1872. “Hachioji” refers to the name of the suburb in western Tokyo where the troupe’s headquarters is located.
Nishikawa Koryu V
Nishikawa Koryu became the 5th iemoto (headmaster) of the Kuruma Ningyo troupe in 1996. He has been studying Kuruma Ning-yo puppetry since he was 13 years old. For more than fifteen years, Nishikawa Koryu V has been performing regularly throughout Japan and in many other countries as well, including Hungary, Chile, and Uruguay. Each year, he spends around 100 days on performance tours. In 2001, he performed in the Czech Republic and Sweden; in the first half of 2002, in Saipan and Brazil, and in the latter part of 2002, in the United States and far eastern Russia. Tours in 2003 included Russia, Sweden, and the United States.
While continuing to perform traditional works of the Edo Period, Nishikawa Koryu V is always seeking new directions and fresh innovations in order to keep the spirit of the troupe vibrant and creative. Under his direction, the Troupe now has many new works in its repertory.
The Koryu Nishikawa Troupe
Hachioji Kuruma Ningyo was designated as an Intangible cultural Asset by the Tokyo government in 1962. The national government recommended that it be recorded as an Intangible Folk Custom Cultural Asset in 1996.
Presented by the Consulate General of Japan and the Japan Foundation with the support of the University of Victoria and sponsorship from the
Centre for Asia Pacific Initiatives (CAPI) and Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society (VNCS).