Japanese Puppeteer Manami Sakamoto

Guild members who attended the holiday party in January had the great privilege of seeing a performance of Otome Bunraku by Manami Sakamoto, visiting from Japan. Bunraku is perhaps the best known of the styles of puppetry from Japan. Traditionally bunraku was the realm of men performers, and each large bunraku doll or figure was manipulated by 3 men. Otome bunraku evolved in the 1920s as special style of bunraku to be performed by women.
In addition, this style of puppetry is accomplished with various mechanical devices that are used to attach the puppet to the body of the puppeteer, so that one woman can perform one puppet figure alone, unlike the 3 to 1 puppeteers to puppet ratio of bunraku. The attachments that Manami so gracefully demonstrated to us are as follows: The puppet body (really a heavily padded kimono without an actual body) was attached to a support that held the weight of the puppet on the Manami