Invitation To  BUNRAKU

To the Theatre

What do I watch?

Production style

The major productions at the National Bunraku Theatre and the National Theatre generally run for around 2 to 3 weeks in a month. A single day's production is divided into two or three parts. Each part lasts for around two and a half hours to four and a half hours. The plays comprising each production are chosen from a repertory of classical works.

Watch a single play carefully

Toshi means that a single work is performed nearly in its entirety from beginning to end. It is usually performed from the afternoon through the evening. Because many of the Jidai-mono (historical plays) are long works compared to sewa-mono (contemporary, domestic plays), a toshi of the former will generally last several hours.

Watch different plays

Sometimes a la carte productions are staged in which popular acts are selected from various plays and performed in combination with other plays such as dance plays called Keigoto or Keiji. If you are unsure about what to watch, one idea is to go see such productions that will let you enjoy a number of plays all at once.

Performances for beginners

Performances for beginners teach you about the unique features of traditional performing arts in an easy to understand manner. The performances consist of explanations that include actual demonstrations by performers, as well as performances of plays that are beginner-friendly. They are held every year in Osaka and Tokyo. They are also offered in English for foreign nationals.

Regional productions

There are productions that run in regional theatres when there are no major productions running in Osaka and Tokyo. The timing and place change every year. Please see the Bunraku Kyokai website for more information.
In addition, independent productions are run by groups of Bunraku performers (gigeiin). Sometimes Sujoruri productions are held with no puppets, featuring only the joruri of the narrator and Shamisen music.