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National Bunraku Theatre

Discover BUNRAKU|BUNRAKU for Beginners

Saturday,16 June 2:00 pm (scheduled to end at 4:50 pm)
3,900en / Student 1,300yen (including tax)
Online Sale & Telephone Reservation
from 3rd May  10:00 am
Box Office Sale
from 4th May  10:00 am
0570-07-9900 (Domestic Call Only)|03-3230-3000 (IP phone)
Buy tickets
'What's Bunraku'


This performance “Discover BUNRAKU” consists
of three parts to guide you to the world of BUNRAKU,


    (A Festive Dance)

    a dance play praying for peace and bumper crop with lively and humorous dances

  2. The ABC of BUNRAKU

    a presentation to introduce the basics of Bunraku by a Rakugo(a kind of spoken drama, traditional performing arts in Japan) Storyteller KATSURA Kaishi

  3. The masterpiece, EHON TAIKOKI

    (TheTycoon's Pictorial Biography)

    A story set in the Sengoku period featuring day by day depictions of Akechi Mitsuhide’s revolt (please see the story below)

Audio-guide (English) at the theatre : Free!
Enjoy with English subtitles adove the stage.


BUNRAKU is one of Japan’s representative traditional performing arts, designated an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 2003.

It was in Osaka that Bunraku has been developed over 300 years. It is a closely collaborative form which synchronizes narrative recitation, shamisen music and puppetry in performance and is praised as the most highly sophisticated puppet theatre art in the world. The narrator, Tayu, portrays not only the voices and emotions of all characters but also the locations and seasonal scenes of the story by himself. Shamisen player acts out the lines of the play and the characters’ appearance and personality. One puppet is operated by three puppeteers, which is very unique in the world. The main puppeteer manipulates the head and right hand, and the left hand and legs are operated by each puppeteer.

For details, please see Invitation To Bunraku . You can learn more about BUNRAKU before the performance.

Invitation to Bunraku


Message from KATSURA Kaishi, Navigator of The ABC of Bunraku

Both Kamigata Rakugo and Bunraku are performing arts born in Osaka, where they were developed and still remain popular. Rakugo and Bunraku have many factors in common and there are many Rakugo Storytellers that are fans of Bunraku—myself included. On this occasion I received my first appointment to the important role of explaining the Bunraku performance. When you hear that the play is “one of The Classics”, I’m sure many of you can’t help but imagine the barrier to entry is surely high. But don’t worry: as a Rakugo Storyteller was called upon to introduce it, I’m sure it will be performance you can laugh along with and enjoy. As a fan of Bunraku, that I can perhaps lend a hand in creating new fans is just fantastic.

NavigatorKATSURA Kaishi (Rakugo Storyteller)

Katsura Kaishi is a Rakugo storyteller and a Japan Cultural Envoy (in 2007). To promote Rakugo to the world, he has performed Rakugo in English for over 20 years at 107 cities in 25 countries. His awards include the Sakuya Konohana Award, the New Artist Award at the Agency for Cultural Affairs National Arts Festival, the NHK Shinjin Engei Award, and the Hanjotei Rakugo Award. His activities are also introduced in Japan's junior high school English textbooks.


This piece, based on a historical fact from the late 16th century, whereby Akechi Mitsuhide (called Takechi Mitsuhide in the play) attacked and murdered his lord Oda Nobunaga (called Oda Harunaga in the play) and was consequently killed, is presented as a story unfolding over 13 days. It depicts characters, such as Mitsuhide, who grows cornered as the days go on, and his sworn enemy Toyotomi Hideyoshi (called Mashiba Hisayoshi in the play).

Mitsuhide's mother Satsuki cannot forgive her son for rebelling against his lord and leaves Mitsuhide's mansion for a cottage in Amagasaki. There, she is visited by Mitsuhide's wife Misao and Hatsugiku, the fiancé of Mitsuhide's son Jujiro. Then a travelling monk comes and asks for a night's lodging. This is followed by a visit from Jujiro to ask for Satsuki's approval to join his father's army. Jujiro, with his grandmother Satsuki's recommendation, has a wedding ceremony to marry Hatsugiku, and then heads to the battlefield, prepared to die.

Mitsuhide comes after the travelling monk, believing him to be Hisayoshi in disguise. He peeks into the cottage and violently stabs the monk's silhouette in the bathroom. However, the person in the bathroom turns out to be Satsuki, who is severely wounded. Mitsuhide refuses to listen to his mother's desperate admonition or his wife's appeal to mend his ways. There, Jujiro returns, mortally wounded from the battle. Jujiro still cares for his father even with fatal wounds, and Mitsuhide cannot bear it and sheds tears at last. Then Hisayoshi appears gallantly and promises with Mitsuhide to meet again later on the battlefield.

See more

Invitation To BUNRAKU EHON TAIKOKI incl. Highlight Video
  • English
  • français
  • Español
  • Deutsch
  • 中文(簡体)
  • 中文(繁体)
  • 한국어
  • 日本語
  • English
  • français
  • Español
  • 中文(簡体)
  • 中文(繁体)
  • 한국어

Tickets Now on Sale!

Online Sale & Telephone Reservation
from Thursday, 3rd May 2018, 10:00 am (GMT+8:00)
Box Office sale
from Friday, 4th May 2018, 10:00 am (GMT+8:00)
3,700yen / Student 1,300yen (including tax)
Buy Tickets

ONLINE 6:00 am-2:00 am

Box Office

OPEN 10:00 am-6:00 pm

0570-07-9900 (Domestic Call Only)

03-3230-3000 (IP phone)


National Bunraku Theatre (Osaka)

1-12-10, Nippombashi, Chuo-ku
Osaka-shi, Osaka, 542-0073

Telephone : 06-6212-2531

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