Invitation To  BUNRAKU

Bunraku Dolls: How the Dolls Work

Mechanisms of the head

Inside of the head (kashira)

A head carved out of cypress wood is split vertically into two in front of the ears. The inside is hollowed out and fitted with a device for moving the eyes, eyebrows, etc. The front side is painted with a white pigment made from powdered seashells. Depending on the role, the head may have different skin tones with hues of white, yellow, red, or other colors.

Controlling the facial expressions with the head-grip (dogushi)

The throat stick (nodogi) is inserted into the head. The head-grip (dogushi) held by the puppeteer is then attached below the throat stick. Strings to move the eyes, eyebrows, mouth, etc. are joined to hooks and levers on the head-grip. By manipulating the hooks and levers, a puppeteer can make the puppet nod and change its facial expression.