October 16, 2007

Bunraku Puppets

Puppets and puppeteer of Bunraku
Time = 9:54

Sit with one master bunraku artist. He shares the mystery of every facial expression on these sophisticated puppets. Examine the strings controlling eyebrows, eyes, mouth, and neck. "You must always move the head in a gentle circular motion." What is a lady's proper center of gravity? See the hidden fist that is a knee. Her sleeve will be withdrawn to reveal the wooden mechanism that controls the puppet hand-gestures. "When the puppet is experiencing feelings of joy, 'Oh, how delightful!' I am transferring my feelings of joy to her. If the character feels sad, I feel sad, too." It is not just one man controlling the expressiveness of each character. "All three puppeteers must be synchronized emotionally. It would be difficult to move the puppet if we had different states of mind."

Learn how to build your own Bunraku puppet.