Japanese Masters: A Kuruma Ningyo Performance held on April 1st and 2nd!

Enjoy an exciting and unique performance of Japanese puppetry like nothing you have seen before. Yara Arts Group, the Center for Puppetry Arts, the Consulate-General of Japan in Atlanta, and the Japan America Society of Georgia (JASG) are proud to present a beautiful Japanese puppetry tradition rarely seen in the U.S. Hachioji Kuruma Ningyo is a 160 year old puppet company led by fifth generation Master Puppeteer Koryu Nishikawa V.   In this special, family-friendly performance, Koryu Nishikawa V and his company perform short traditional and contemporary puppetry pieces in the Kuruma Ningyo style, in which a single puppeteer sits on a small rolling cart and operates the head, arms and legs of an exquisitely carved figure.  As part of the evening, the puppetry technique is demonstrated to the audience and musician Chieko Hara explains how the 3-stringed shamisen instrument complements the puppetry.  A must-see event for anyone interested in puppetry or Japanese culture.  Introduced and moderated by American puppet artist Tom Lee.


SAT APRIL 1: ” Japanese Masters: A Kuruma Ningyo Performance” PERFORMANCE #1  8pm

SUN APRIL 2: ” Japanese Masters: A Kuruma Ningyo Performance” PERFORMANCE #2  7pm

 Purchase tickets here.


Koryu Nishikawa V is a fifth generation puppet master and head of Hachioji Kuruma Ningyo, a puppetry form which originated in the late Edo Era in Japan, over 160 years ago.  The form involves puppets roughly the same scale as the famous Bunraku style, however, in Kuruma Ningyo, the puppets are operated by a single person.  The puppeteer sits on a small rolling box, with the puppet’s feet between his toes and manipulates the head, arms and legs of the figure while rolling across the stage.  The performances are mesmerizing and powerful and the repertoire of Kuruma Ningyo includes classic dramas and comedies as well as ritualized dancing like the Sanbaso, an energetic dance of cleansing and purification.  In addition, Koryu Nishikawa V has adapted the style for international dance forms like Flamenco.  “Hachioji” refers to the city near Tokyo where the form developed.  “Kuruma” means “car or cart”.  “Ningyo” is the Japanese word for doll or puppet.



Koryu Nishikawa V, master puppeteer

Ryukumi Nishikawa, traditional puppeteer

Chieko Hara, traditional musician


Tom Lee, American director, designer and puppet artist


About the ARTISTS

Koryu Nishikawa V is the fifth generation headmaster of Hachioji Kuruma Ningyo (Cart puppetry company of Japan), a 160 year-old puppet theatre and an Intangible Folk Custom Cultural Asset of the Japanese government.  Trained by his father and grandfather in the Kuruma Ningyo style, Koryu Nishikawa V was also a student at the National Bunraku Theatre, Japan’s most famous puppet theatre.  His company has performed all over the world in over 40 countries.


Chieko Hara, is a Japanese traditional musician specializing in koto, shamisen and Japanese flute.  Ms. Hara is a graduate of the Japanese Music Department of the prestigious Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, now Tokyo University of the Arts.  She composed the score for Shank’s Mare, in collaboration with American composer and hammered dulcimer player Bill Ruyle.


Ryukumi Nishikawa is a Japanese puppeteer and member of Hachioji Kuruma Ningyo. As a female performer of traditional and contemporary puppetry, she is especially unique in the Japanese puppetry community.   She has toured extensively internationally, appeared on Japanese national television and performed with puppet theater POOK for over 14 years.


Tom Lee is a theatre designer and director based in New York & Chicago who specializes in Asian-inspired forms of puppet theater combined with technology.  He met Koryu Nishikawa V over a decade ago in Japan and became his student.  Together they created Shank’s Mare, a collaborative puppet piece combining traditional Kuruma Ningyo, video projection and contemporary puppetry techniques.  Shank’s Mare won the 2016 Arlyn Award for Outstanding Puppet Theatre Design and is now on tour in the US.  www.tomleeprojects.com


Family Series Special Event

Suggested age range:  8 and older

Length: One Hour



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s