In Search of Takeda Omi’s Legacy: the Karakuri Ningyô

Dr. Holly Blumner
Associate Professor
Theater, Film, and Media Studies
St. Mary’s College of Maryland

Date: March 5, 2009
Time: 3:00 pm—4:30 pm
Location: Moore 319—Tokioka Room

Paper Abstract:
Among the many theatrical entertainments in Japan during the Edo period were karakuri ningyô, mechanical puppets with clockwork mechanisms. The puppets, attributed to Osaka theatre owner Takeda Omi, were popular in theatre performances across the Kyoto-Osaka region until 1768. Gradually, bunraku puppets and onstage puppeteers replaced the mechanical puppets. Today, festival puppets are carved and assembled using instruction manuals dating back to 1760. The puppets perform at festivals throughout Japan. This presentation examines the karakuri puppet phenomenon at Osaka’s Takeda Theatre from 1662-1768 and the continuing karakuri legacy.

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