The Musician's Stage (Yuka)

This is the auxiliary stage upon which the gidayu-bushi is performed. It thrusts out into the audience area at the front right portion of the seats. Upon this auxiliary stage there is a special revolving platform. It is upon this revolving platform that the chanter and the shamisen player make their appearance, and, when they are finished, it turns once more, bringing them backstage and placing the next performers on the stage.


The Partitions (Tesuri) and the Pit (Funazoko)

Between extreme upstage and extreme downstage, there are three stage partitions, known as "railings" (tesuri). The area behind the second partition is called the pit (funazoko; lit., "ship bottom"), and it is where the manipulators stand. It is one step lower than the main stage. When the puppets move, their feet move along the railings, making it look as though they are actually walking upon the ground. The building (yatai) or painted backdrop (kakiwari) is attached to the partition farthest from the audience (main railing).



Small curtain (Komaku) and Screened-off Rooms (Misuuchi)

Looking at the stage from the audience, the right-hand side is called kamite (stage left), while the left-hand side is called shimote (stage right). The puppets make their appearance and then leave the stage through the small black curtains (komaku) at both stage left and stage right. The screened-off rooms are just above the small curtains, and they have bamboo blinds set up so that the audience cannot see inside. In the screened-off room at stage left (the audience's right), are young chanters and shamisen players of limited experience. In that on the opposite side, are the members of the hayashi (orchestra), who perform on such instruments as flutes, stick drums, hand drums, and bells, and even evoke the atmosphere of the scene by creating such sounds as wind, rain, and the flowing of a river.


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