The renown Tonda bunraku puppet troupe in Nagahama will hold its summer performance on Aug. 1, 2010 at Lute Plaza in Nagahama. The show starts at 1:30 pm and includes four plays lasting about 2 hours. Advance tickets are 1,000 yen (1,200 yen at the door on Aug. 1). You can buy advance tickets by calling Lute Plaza (0749-72-5257) and reserving a ticket. You can pay for the reserved ticket at the door on Aug. 1.
Tickets are also available at Lute Plaza, Azai Bunka Hall, Nagahama Bunka Geijutsu Kaikan, Hikiyama Hakubutsukan Museum, and Keibun. (リュートプラザ、浅井文化ホール、長浜文化芸術会館、曳山博物館、KEIBUN）
The Tonda puppet troupe receives trainees from overseas on a regular basis. In this upcoming show, five college students from the US and UK will appear. They’ve been training full time (8 hours/day on weekdays) since June 10, 2010 at the Tonda Puppet Hall in Nagahama while doing homestays with local families. Their teacher is Abe Hidehiko (阿部秀彦), the leader of the Tonda troupe.
Each puppet weighing about 4 kg is manipulated by three people. Two of them are usually dressed as kurogo with their faces covered. So I wonder how we’ll recognize the non-Japanese puppeteers.
I saw the Tonda bunraku in Dec. 2009 at Lute Plaza and it was impressive even though I couldn’t understand the story so well. But I’m always happy to see foreigners learning traditional Japanese things, especially in Shiga. I wish them well.