Laughter and Tears from Old Japan

Shinnai Singing and Kuruma Ningyo Puppetry

Laughter and Tears from Old Japan

Friday, October 5 2007

Bowker Auditorium   8:00 pm
$15 General; Five College Students and Youth 17 and under $7


Acclaimed master of Shinnai singing, Tsuruga Wakasanojo, captures light-hearted friendship and painful love from eighteenth-century Japan in his performance of "Yaji Kita", "snow", and "Black Hair".


Shinnai is a narrative performing art that embodies a beautiful combination of expressive recitation and rich melody. Tsuruga Wakasanojo is one of the leading masters of this art and has been designated as a Living National Treasure in Japan.

Tsuruga Wakasanojo is joined by Nishikawa Koryu, a principal master of kuruma ningyo puppetry. Unlike a traditional bunraku puppet, which takes three puppeteers to manipulate, a kuruma ningyo is handled by a single puppeteer sitting on a stool with wheels and can vividly reproduce quick movements and vigorous strides. Dolls operated by Nishikawa Koryu and his disciple gain voice through Tsuruga Wakasanojo . Together they re-create the world of townspeople in "Yaji Kita", a funny travelogue between fainthearted Kitahachi and a prankster, Yajirobei, who claims that he is not afraid of ghosts; and "snow" and "Black Hair", which express a woman's suffering caused by love.


Presented by the Japanese Program in Asian Languages and Literatures (Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures, UMASS)


Funded in part by the Japan Foundation & the Toshiba Corporation.



Presented by Asian Languages and Literatures Program, co-sponsored by Asian Arts & Culture Program. Funded in part by the Japan Foundation & the Toshiba Corporation