Puppet Friendly City
Minami-Awaji City is located on the southern end of Awaji Island (Japan) It is described in the “Kojiki”, the oldest history book in Japan. The “Awaji Ningyo Joruri” is a traditional puppet show which began in the fifteen century when a puppeteer named “Hyakudayu” stayed in Minami-Awaji while travelling around Japan with his puppets to calm the gods of the country. Since then, puppeteering has been handed down through the generations.
Throughout the year “Awaji Ningyo Joruri” performances are held four times per day at the “Awaji Puppet Theater”. Located at an offsite archive puppets and other artefacts from the nineteen century are also on display.
In some elementary, junior and senior high schools, puppeteering is taught as a club activity. Members of the Awaji Puppet Theater attend these club activities and offer the students guidance. Puppeteers at the Awaji Puppet Theater participated in the puppeteering clubs at their schools. There, they learned puppeteering and about the puppeteering heart.
Since 1984, every July a “successor group meeting” is held to help improve puppeteering skills and discuss with young people the importance of protecting this traditional culture.