Mock Research Investigation Essay

1054 words - 4 pages

Mock Research Investigation Word count: 1008How does the head puppeteer in Bunraku maintain the puppet for the character Ohatsu in the play 'Love Suicides at Sonezaki'?Bunraku is the traditional Japanese art of puppetry, which dates back to the 1600s. It originates from Osaka, and combines puppetry, narrative storytelling and shamisen music with the art of Kabuki, another Japanese art. Before Bunraku, puppets were used in shrines for the Gods to possess them, so that there would be no harm done to the people in the villages (ADACHI, Barbara, 1985). The play 'Love Suicides at Sonezaki' is one of the most well-known plays in the art of Bunraku, and it tells the story of two lovers who see no other way to be together then to commit suicide. This story is based on events that really happened, and the premier of this play was performed one month after the events occurred, so that the audience could experience the tragedy of the events (Bunraku: The Classical Puppets of Japan, 1973). The main characters in this play are Tokubei and Ohatsu, the two lovers who commit suicide together at the end of the play. (KEENE, Donald, 1961) Both puppets need 3 puppeteers to be operated. The head puppeteer, or the omostukai, operates the head and right arm, the hidaristukai operates the left arm and the ashistukai operates the feet. The left-hand puppeteer and the operator of the feet are usually dressed in all black, while the main puppeteer wears a colorful kimono with his family's crest and a divine skirt, and the faces of the left-hand puppeteer and the puppeteer that operates the feet are covered in black cloaks (JAPAN ARTS COUNCIL, 2004). The head puppeteer does not wear a cloak (ADACHI, Barbara, 1985). It is very important for the three puppeteers to move as one to make the puppet come to life, because without the fluent movements of the puppet the lifelike feeling is lost. (JAPAN ARTS COUNCIL, 2004). Not only is the head puppeteer of high importance during the play, operating the most vital parts of the puppets body, he has responsibility to take care of his puppet backstage.It starts with the main puppeteer who chooses the heads that will be used in the play, on small details such as the line of the chin, the length of the nose and the shape of the eyebrows. (GLOPAD). This is because the head puppeteer must work with the puppet and so might already have a stronger bond with the puppet when he chooses the head himself. It is essentially the first step in becoming one with the puppet. The body of the puppet doesn't have proper bones and so their bodies are made by the puppeteers to their own preference into a framework of wood where the head, arms and feet will be attached to with strings. (ADACHI, Barbara, 1985). This is good for the puppeteers so that they're able to get used to the anatomy and the structure of the body of the puppet and to get to know the puppet they will be working with. After the puppets are chosen for parts in...

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