A traditional art shaped during the Edo period
Bunraku, originally referred to as Ningyo joruri, was formed in around 1600. Joruri is the art of narration, with shamisen coming into usage for the musical performance, and merged with puppetry that has existed since ancient times.
Takemoto Gidayu, a master narrator, opened the Takemoto-za theatre in Osaka. The theatre staged plays written by Chikamatsu Monzaemon that became highly popular, and formed Bunraku as we know it today.
A composite art performed by the narrator, shamisen player, and puppeteer in perfect synchrony
The stories performed are complex narratives depicting the transience of the world, a memorial service, sad romance, separation between a parent and a child and so on. Bunraku's important components also include witty humor and brilliant dancing.
The performers are the narrator, shamisen player, and puppeteer. The narrator known as tayu describes the scene and dialogue of the characters, all by himself. Next to him, the shamisen player portrays the setting and the changes in emotion through sound. Puppeteers illustrate the stories depicted in a type of joruri called gidayu-bushi visually. The method of having three people operate a single puppet creates its beautiful, exquisite movements.