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Taiwan's traditional hand puppet show hits the stage in Japan

  • Date:2023-08-29
Taiwan's traditional hand puppet show hits the stage in Japan

With support from the Taiwan Cultural Center in Tokyo, the Taipei Puppet Theater (臺北木偶劇團) was invited to perform a traditional Beiguan hand puppet show titled “The Magic Lotus Lantern (劈山救母)” at Honda Theater in Shimokitazawa, Tokyo on Aug. 7. This marks the first time that a traditional Taiwanese performance troupe has been invited to perform at the venue and it is also Honda Theater’s first time inviting a foreign performance troupe.

The Taipei Puppet Theater performed in Japan for the first time last year. Taking this opportunity, the Taiwan Cultural Center in Tokyo collaborated with the troupe to organize a special puppetry exhibition, which was later featured on the front page of the Mainichi Shimbun, one of the major newspapers in Japan. To provide greater exposure for Taiwanese performing troupes in Japan, the Taiwan Cultural Center in Tokyo proposed a collaboration with Iida Puppet Festa, the largest festival of puppet shows in Japan, as well as Honda Theater in Shimokitazawa.

“The Magic Lotus Lantern” was performed in partnership with Youkiza, a Japanese marionette theatre company, on the opening day of the Iida Puppet Festa on Aug. 3. Their performance on Aug. 7 at the Honda Theatre also attracted large crowds and captivated audiences with their lively performances.

The director of the Taipei Puppet Theater Lin Yung-Chih (林永志) said that collaborating with Youkiza and performing at the Honda Theater is a good opportunity for Taiwan as well as Taiwanese puppetry to gain international exposure. Associate Professor of the Taipei National University of the Arts Lin Yu-pin (林于竝) also said that this is a rare opportunity to showcase Taiwan’s traditional arts on the global stage.

The Taipei Puppet Theatre's performance has aroused a great deal of interest. There have been ongoing discussions on future collaboration with Japanese performing troupes and the Taipei Puppet Theatre is also planning a Europe performance tour next year.