Awa Deco Hakomawashi wo Fukkatsusuru Kai


13, 14, 15 May at 9.30pm

Performers: Eran Tsujimoto, Kazuhide Tsujimoto, Kimiyo Minami and Masako Nakauchi Technique: Full-view manipulation For audiences over: M/8 Time: Aprox. 90 min. Language: Japanese with explanations in Portuguese

This Japanese performance is a magical show, about ritual art with puppets, which has almost vanished. This show has a documentary vibe, with the presentation of three pieces, which include explanations about their history and techniques. The group Awa Deco Hakomawashi wo Fukkatsusuru Kai (Association for the Renewal of Hakomawashi Awa), has developed an intense research about this unique type of Japanese puppet theatre, and managed to renovate this beautiful tradition, creating in their performances an unique ambiance with fantastic articulated puppets that will lead us through the rituals of the Land of the Rising Sun.

"Sanbasoumawashi": One of the typical New Year celebration performances in Shikoku is a puppet show called Sanbasoumawashi. It is said that it started about 300 years ago. A puppeteer and a tuzumi (hand drum) player carrying four puppets of Sanbaso (Senzai, Okina, Sanbaso) and Ebisu in two wooden boxes (wicker trunks were used in mountain regions) visit houses during the New Year holidays and perform a puppet show at the gate. After hanging strips of white paper to Kojin (god), the puppeteer predicts and celebrates good harvests and a year without disease or disaster using the four puppets (dekos). In the past, the performers of Sanbasomawashi visited houses on predetermined dates; consequently, “Sanbasoumawashi became a well-established New Year's ritual and custom and was practiced for a long period of time. However, most of the performers went out of business. By the late 1960s, the tradition disappeared from cities and towns and could be found only in some farm villages in intermediate and mountainous area.

"Hakomawashi": means puppet theatre performed as street shows. “Sanbasoumawashi”, for example, used to be a ceremony performed at each house for the New Year to pray for good harvests and a year without disease or disaster. It progressively became the main New Year ceremony in Shikoku. Dolls of the god Ebisu were also frequently displayed in fishing communities to pray for a good catch. Puppeteers travelled with their dolls inside wooden boxes, either alone or as a couple in the case of husband and wife shows: the artists toured the country and performed on street corners. “Hakomawashi” puppeteers toured small villages and remote mountain communities where larger troupes would not go, and made the Awa (Tokushima) and Awaji style of puppet theatre known throughout Japan’s rural areas. However, that form of art had almost disappeared by the 1960s.

"Ebisumai": Traditional puppet play from the island of Awajishima and rural areas from Tokushima. Ebisu (one of the seven Japanese lucky gods) celebrates the catching of the fish.


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