speaking, a doll is the model of man's figure and it is common that the
size is small. In
the ancient Japan, the "haniwa", a clay figure, was made, and
afterwards a doll was made in the form of a flat board and it was called
"hitogata (=a man's form)". It
was used for driving away evils, making wishes, and cursing.
professional people started to work a three-dimensional puppet called "kugutsu"
around the 8th or 9th century. The
purpose of the puppet play was to tell audience a divine message and a
was amusement-ized gradually and came to have a sense of art, however.
the puppet play which was street art was connected with Joruri play
narration, and the cooperation between the doll manipulaters and the
narrators started. The
birth of Joruri play was also in the middle of the Muromachi era.
early stages, it was a story-telling of the Tale of the Heike which was
accompanied by the biwa music. The
stringed instrument which descended from Ryukyu (=Okinawa) was improved
and the samisen was made around the middle of the 16th century.
melody which was light and wore sadness was composed.
Joruri play developed as a narrative entertainment with the
accompaniment of this new musical instrument .
the beginning of Keicho period in the end of the 16th century that the
Joruri play was combined with the puppet play.
first year of Teikyo period[ 1684] , Takemoto Gidayu opened the
Takemoto-za theater in Dohtonbori of Osaka. With
the cooperation of Chikamatsu Monzaemon, his ningyo joruri was
successful, and obtained high evaluation from the audience, and the
Joruri play also became the another name of gidayu-bushi here.
his pupil's Toyotake Wakatayu opened Toyotake-za theate. Both of the
theaters prospered and made the peak time called the"Take-Toyo
(Takemoto & Toyotake) time. Both
theaters were finally closed in the fourth year of Showa period[ 1767] .
during the years of Bunka in the beginning of the 19th century, Uemura
Bunrakuken of Awaji-shima opened a theater of ningyo joruri at South
Hashizume of the Kohzu bridge in Osaka. Then,
when his theater was moved to somewhere else, it was named Bunraku-za
the other theater named Hikoroku-za was opened in the beginning of Meiji
era, it was merged into Bunraku-za. "Bunraku"
out of Bunraku-za came to be used as another name of ningyo joruri.
the beginning, the head of a puppet doll was made from the ground.
was changed into the wooden head by the craftsmen of Kyoto in early
stages of the Edo era. With
regard to how to manipulate a doll, there are two methods: using direct
hands and using threads. The
"plug-in system" which was operated by direct hands was
changed, and ningyo joruri came to be operated by three persons: the "omo-zukai
(=master worker)",the "hidari-zukai (=left worker)", and
the "ashi-tsukai (=leg worker). It
is the performance style of the present Bunraku.
of ningyo joruri consists of the head, a trunk, a hand, a leg, and the
costume is dressed to the doll each time. A
doll worker is in charge of the composition and the design of a pattern
the charm of a doll may be called, it is in the head; various heads are
made according to the sex, age, status, and character of a doll.
to create the lively expressions of the doll, various devices are given
to the head: opening and closing of an eyelid, a motion of eyebrows,
opening and closing of a mouth, change of a face.
of joruri plays are classified into various characters: the "male
part" which plays the leading role, the role of the old, a feminine
role, a child's role, and a humorous role, and a special role, and a
minor role. The
head of the doll in the picture is the one of "oyama", the
feminine role. The
doll has the brilliance and sad feeling of a youg housewife.
is in the Shimada-mage style; the main features of the costume are the "kosode",
kimono with short sleeves, made of gray silk crape with the "koshidaka"
patterns, and a black Chu-tzu's "obi" band which is tied to
lools like the style of a maid of a samurai family.
"obi" band is fastened by a red "obi-jime" string.
head in the photo is for usual young lady. Although
the eyelids do not move, especially two legs are attached.
the "oyama" doll usually does not have legs, legs are attached
to it plays a special role. The
doll in the photo remains the figure of a young housewife in the late
Edo era; it was produced in the Meiji era, however.