Yasuko falls under the spell of wayang kulit


JAPANESE doctoral student Togari Yasuko speaks fluent Malay. She is now learning to make wayang kulit and to play its unique music from a master at Kampung Laut, Kelantan.  

have difficultypicking up theKelantanesedialect but I cansomehowunderstand mostwayang kulitstories«TOGARI YASUKO

The 38-year-old is so fascinated by the art of shadow play that it as the subject for her doctorate degree’s thesis on the relationship between cultural policy and performers.  

“My master Pak Yusoff performs for the children in his village every evening, I’d go without fail, it’s been three months now,” she said when interviewed at Parliament House after the declaration of 50 items as National Heritage.  

Yasuko was the one manning the wayang kulit booth at the exhibition on the nation’s national treasures.  

Yasuko studied at Universityi Malaya for two years in the early 1990s, and worked in Bangi from 1999 to 2003.  

She first came to know about the wayang kulit while she was working there, and helped to sew the puppet figures as a pastime.  

Shadow play; The wayang kulit enthralls both tourists and locals.

“I like the shadow element in wayang kulit, it stimulates your imagination. I love the stories, too, they are narrated in a beautiful language. I have difficulty picking up the Kelantanese dialect, but I don’t know why I can somehow understand most of the wayang kulit stories the moment I hear them,” she said.  

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