The Lovers' Exile

"the artistry and grace of the legendary Bunraku Puppet Theatre"



Jean-Louis Barrault, the great French actor and mime, kindly agreed to write and appear in an introduction to THE LOVERS' EXILE for its US television premiere.

These are his comments:

"The art of theatre has always drawn it's vitality from popular imagination. Sometimes this imagination uses puppets, sometimes storytelling. In Bunraku we find the marriage of the two.

The storyteller performs the art of 'joruri'. He is the virtuoso of voice.

The puppet is given life by three manipulators. The originality of Bunraku is that these manipulators are present - they are seen.

The master holds the puppet against his chest. His right arm gives life to the right arm of the puppet. The master has two assistants clothed in black. One assistant gives life to the left arm of the puppet, the other gives life to the body, skirts, or legs. In front of them is a platform which crosses the entire stage. This platform is the very ground of the puppets.

And suddenly, we discover the essence of life. The life of the master has passed into the entire body of the puppet.

The plasticity of movement is exceptional: the movement of the spine, movement of the head, and elegance of the arms are fascinating. And when the puppet wants to walk it glides upon the air like we walk when we dream.

Everything is synchronized: the voice of the narrator, accent of samisen, precision of gesture. It reaches an actual technical perfection.

And then; cruelty, charm, tears and humour strike us with maximum intensity. Everything of life is recreated before us with authenticity. So I say Bunraku is an incomparable art."

Jean-Louis Barrault, Paris
February 1980


Tamao Yoshida (CHUBEI) Living National Treasure of Japan
Minosuke Yoshida III (UMEGAWA) Living National Treasure of Japan
Kanjuro Kiritake II (HACHIEMON & MAGOEMON) 1920-1986, National Treasure of Japan


Oritayu Takemoto V, now Tsunadayu IX, Living National Treasure of Japan
Koshijidayu Takemoto IV, 1913-2002 National Treasure of Japan
Mojidayu Takemoto IX, now Sumitayu VII, Living National Treasure of Japan


Enza Tsuruzawa V, 1914-2001, National Treasure of Japan
Seiji Tsuruzawa
Kinshi Nozawa IV, 1934-1989, National Treasure of Japan

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