Film “Bunraku Ningyo Awakenings” at USC, Los Angeles

A five minute film of the performance “Bunraku Ningyo Awakenings” by Bunraku puppet master Kanroku and his company, Mokugu-sha, organized by Maki Aizawa for the University of Southern California: Visions and Voices in January 2019.

Presented by USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative

Performance Date: January 11, 2019 USC Brain and Creativity Institute’s Joyce J. Cammilleri Hall (BCI)

A Performance by Kanroku and his company, Mokugu-sha, based in Osaka, Japan

Featuring Music by Sage Romero & Robert Piper Jr. of AkaMya Culture Group, Big Pine, CA

Organized by

-Rebecca Corbett (USC Libraries)

-Velina Hasu Houston and Oliver Mayer (USC School of Dramatic Arts)

-Satoko Shimazaki (USC Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures)

-Maki Aizawa (Sonoma Cultural Exchange)

Performance Description: Experience traditional Japanese puppet theatre in a rare performance outside of Japan by renowned bunraku ningyo performer Kanroku and his company, Mokugu-sha. Taking inspiration from antique bunraku puppets from the USC Libraries’ East Asian Library, Kanroku and Mokugu-sha will create a special piece for the USC community. The performance will explore the tension between social obligations and personal desire—a conflict at the heart of the bunraku repertoire—and highlight the expressive possibilities for storytelling with non-human puppets and creative experimentation by bunraku ningyo practitioners past, present, and future.

Artists Description: Renowned Japanese bunraku ningyo puppeteer Kanroku studied at the National Bunraku Theater in Osaka under Master Kanjuro Kiritake II, and was named Kanroku Kiritake in 1979. He then apprenticed under Minosuke Yoshida III, and was renamed Kanroku Yoshida in 1987. In 2006, he started his own theatre company, Mokugu-sha. Kanroku teaches and practices the classical pieces of bunraku ningyo theatre while pursuing contemporary projects and collaborating with artists working outside of bunraku.

Film Produced by Sonoma Cultural Exchange

Film Directed and Edited by Ryo Araki