*First broadcast on September 28, 2023. In ningyo joruri, three people work together to make beautifully crafted puppets seem amazingly lifelike. US puppeteer Martin Holman is a devotee of this Japanese performing art, which has around 400 years of history. Nowadays, he leads a troupe of his own in Tokushima Prefecture, home to Awa ningyo joruri. On this episode of Japanophiles, Peter Barakan explores the world of ningyo joruri and learns how Martin Holman is expanding its horizons with the help of performers young and old from several countries.
Three puppeteers work in perfect unison to bring a puppet to life.
Martin Holman is the first person from outside Japan to set up a puppet troupe in Tokushima, a ningyo joruri hub.
One swift action transforms a puppet's look of youthful elegance into an image of fearful jealousy!