Various hand props

  The small hand props of Bunraku include things that are carried in the hand or attached to bodies, such as swords or handkerchief-like tenugui, as well as larger items such as chests of drawers or lighting fixtures. There are also a number of disposable items, such as letters that get torn up and thrown away, along with numerous others. All the hand props are small in size, in order to match the size of the puppets. Yet the types of fans used are the same size as those used by humans, which strangely enough does not seem to appear incongruous. The prop masters prepare all of the small props that are needed for each performance. They repair those that are very roughly handled, and also make new ones on an order-by-order basis. When the performance begins, they are carried from the dressing rooms to the stage by the young puppeteers, who then hand them to the puppeteers operating the dolls during the performance.  

Copyright 2004, by the Japan Arts Council. All rights reserved.