The Magic of Japanese Puppet Theater


Four master performers from the Imada Puppet Troupe (Imada ningyōza), based in Nagano Prefecture, Japan, will be featured in two demonstrations of traditional Japanese puppetry at Princeton University in early October, 2009.  They will be assisted in performance by members of the Bunraku Bay Puppet Troupe.  Both events will be held in the Frist Campus Center Theater on the Princeton University campus on Saturday October 10th, 2009 as follows:

Matinee show and demonstration 2 to 3:30 pm

Evening performance 8 to 10 pm

Program Notes

Sanbasou puppet

The Saturday matinee (2-3.30 pm) will feature a demonstration of Japanese puppetry with time for questions and answers. The program will conclude with a short performance.  The matinee program will be educational in nature and of interest to students of Japanese theater as well as to younger viewers.


The Saturday evening program will include selections from four major plays. The program will include Kotobuki Shiki Sanbaso (A Divinely Inspired Play that features a magical performance to purify the theater), Yaoya Oshichi (Oshichi the Vegetable Merchant) and Hidakagawa Iriaizakura (The Cherry Trees Along the Hidaka River).


Both programs will feature master puppeteers and musicians from the Imada Puppet Troupe.  The troupe, whose lineage can be traced back to performances over the last three centuries, performs frequently and is active in expanding knowledge of puppetry through training programs in Japan and abroad. They have previously performed in France, Taiwan, and the United States.  Additional support for performances and demonstrations will be provided by the Bunraku Bay Puppet Troupe, based at the University of Missouri. The Bunraku Bay Puppet Troupe has performed at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Smithsonian Institution, the University of Chicago, the Japan Society in New York City, and the Iida Puppetry Festival in the city of Iida, Nagano Prefecture, Japan.


The appearance of master puppeteers, chanters, and musicians from the Imada troupe, supported by performers from Bunraku Bay Troupe, is a rare opportunity to see this powerful performing art in person. Seating for both performances is limited. Advance tickets for both matinee and evening performances available beginning Monday, October 5th.  2 free tickets per PUID (TigerCard).  Community member tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children 12 and under.  Tickets available from the Frist Campus Center Ticket Office: 100 level of First Campus Center: advance tickets M-F 12-6, tel: 609.258-9220.  The ticket office will also be open the day of the performance.


This event has been made possible by a generous grant from The David A. Gardner '69 Magic Project.  Additional funds provided by Forbes College/Major Choices, The Program in East Asian Studies, and The Davis International Center. For additional details please contact: Patrick Caddeau, Director of Studies, Forbes College, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544 tel: 609.258.6094