Chikumazawa Puppet play Project
”Chikumazawa Kuruma Ningyo”, the traditional doll theater, is basically located in Miyoshi town, Iruma county, Saitama prefecture.
The preservation group members with some other supporters have been exercising the doll play aiming at promoting its popularization among the people in the area, and making a success of its primary performance held every winter.
As contribution to conservation of traditional performing arts that have inherited Japanese precious culture and beauty down the ages, I have been taking myself the task to record and widely introduce their activities by using online media for their preservation.
About Chikumazawa Puppet Troup
“Chikumazawa Kuruma Ningyo,” the doll theater using chair on casters, was started by the Maeda family in Miyoshi town, Iruma County, Saitama Prefecture which is just north to Tokyo, when the bride “Tei” of Sakichi Maeda brought the doll theater instruments in her bridal package at around the end of Edo period(1854~1860).
Sakichi learned how to manipulate the dolls from Tei’s parent home, and in time, set up the “Yoshida Miyoshi Show” and staged at various place in regions.
Among other traditional “Ningyo (doll) theaters in Japan, Maeda’s feature should be recognized by its usage of chairs on casters to manipulate a doll on the stage by each player.
The peak of popularity of Maeda’s performance was achieved in Meiji period (right after Edo era), by Tamibe, a son of Sakichi, but when plays and movies became to get more popularity as amusements in Taisho period (right after Meiji), the Maeda’s gradually deteriorated from the front line and was forget soon.
Fifty years after the final performance of Maeda’s, the year of Showa 46 (1971), the Board of Education of Saitama Prefecture conducted a survey on the local doll theaters, and in that process, Maeda’s instruments were found. Fortunately, Shinji and Chikashi, sons of Tamibe were alive at that time and could teach how to perform the theater performance, and then the Doll Theater has revived in public.