A symbol of Japan-Malaysia ties

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  • Saturday, 22 Jun 2013

Do not miss the chance to watch bunraku, a traditional Japanese puppet theatre performance, which will be performed for the first time in South-East Asia.

It will be held on June 28 (8.30pm) and 29 (3pm, 8.30pm) at Pentas 2, Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPac).

The show is organised by the Bunraku in Malaysia committee 2013 and KLPac.

Witness the grace and grandeur of a 400-year-old Japanese tradition which features fastidious teamwork as three puppeteers work on one puppet in perfect unity accompanied by live traditional music and vocals.

The show will be performed by the Bunraku Company Minosuke-kai and led by Kanjuro Kiritake III, a bunraku puppeteer who was bestowed the Living National Treasure title by the Japanese government. It will feature 50-year-old puppets which are intricately maintained historic artefacts.

The show is presented in three parts — An interpretation of a harvest celebration dance, an excerpt of the classic Fox in the Inner Garden and a behind-the-scenes demonstration.

The tayu (narrator) will be accompanied by musicians playing the shamisen, a three-stringed spike lute.

Japanese ambassador Shigeru Nakamura, who is also the Bunraku in Malaysia 2013 committee honorary president, said bunraku was one of the forms of traditional Japanese theatre, others being noh and kabuki.

“This is a good opportunity not only for Malaysians but Japanese living in Malaysia too, as not many shows are available even in Japan, with approximately 10 performan-ces a year.

“Many puppeteers will be working together on stage, creating a perfect harmony of music and vocals in a blend of sung narrative, instrumental accompaniment and puppet drama.

“Such teamwork displayed in bunraku reflects the relations which Japan and Asean enjoy; we are also working together hand-in-hand to make the stage of South-East Asia, a big success of perfect harmony.”

According to Japan Foundation, Kuala Lumpur (JFKL) director Shoichi Toyoda, who is also the chief secretariat of the Bunraku in Malaysia 2013 committee, bunraku became very popular in Osaka in the 17th century.

“It was one of the most popular media to entertain people, to spread gossip, to educate people on history and, more importantly, to form a sense of belonging to the community,” he said.

He added that it had never been easy to maintain this art form as it was time-consuming to train the performers.

“There is a lack of human resour-ces, shortage of financial support, and limited space.

“However, it is still surviving in the 21st century, thanks to the support of many private companies, as well as national and city governments,” he said, urging the public to come and witness the refined technique of the puppeteers.

“It is such a waste if you do not watch bunraku here. You will have to travel to Japan to do so,” said KLPac executive producer and director Datuk Faridah Merican.

Bunraku in Malaysia 2013 committee president Toshiyuki Tsukada, who is also the Kuala Lumpur Japan Club (JCKL) president, said there will be a workshop organised by JCKL on June 28.

The performers will demonstrate how to manipulate the puppet, as well as explaining the history and background of bunraku.

Admission fee is RM60 for adults and RM30 for students, the disabled, senior citizens, JCKL/JFKL/TAS card members. Discount and premium tickets are also available.

Tickets can be purchased at www.ilassotickets.com or at the KLPac box office 03-4047 9000.

The performance is held in conjunction with the 40th year of Asean-Japan Friendship and Cooperation, 50th anniversary of JCKL, 30th anniversary of the Japanese Chamber of Trade & Industry, Malaysia.

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Lifestyle , bunraku , klpac


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