Awa Ningyo Joruri is a puppet show created by the fusion of three artistries, joruri (dramatic recitation) of gidayu-bushi (ballad drama music), futozao-shamisen (thick-necked and three-stringed instrument) and sannin-zukai (three puppeteers)
Awa Ningyo Joruri has been passed down to this day as a traditional art that Tokushima can proudly show.
In Tokushima, so-called Awa-no-Te (dynamic puppeteering) using much larger puppets with a glossy finishing than those for bunraku has been used to appeal the audience because ningyo joruri has usually been performed in open-air farm-village stages or temporary stages in Tokushima.
In addition, doll-making has flourished in Tokushima to supply dolls to puppet troupes not only in Tokushima but also in Awaji-shima who have been traveling around Japan, so that many great ningyo-shi (doll-making masters) appeared such as Tenguhisa, Ningyochu and Ningyotomi in the past and not a few skilled ningyo-shi are still working actively in Tokushima.
Hakomawashi is another important puppeteering style unique to Tokushima and is still performed here. Puppeteers store puppets in two crates, carry them on shoulder-poles and manipulate puppets on street corners where people gather. On New Year’s, auspicious dolls such as Sanbaso (doll used for festive occasions wishing for good harvest etc.) and Ebisu (doll of the god of good fortune) are used for door-to-door puppeteering.
large puppet with a glossy finishing
Inugai open-air farm-village stage