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The Edo Marionette Puppet Theater

  • Japanese Friendship Garden 2215 Pan American Road East San Diego, CA, 92101 United States (map)

Verify the correct show time (2pm or 5pm) before you make your purchase. Switch overs will not be possible after a show sells to capacity. This show is not recommended for children under age 8.

Ticket prices include full garden admission. Tickets priced for children covers ages 17 and under. Tickets will be discounted by $2 per individual for group purchases of at least 10 people. The prices listed here are early bird specials available until April 29, 2017. On the day of the performance, online and at-the-door ticket prices will increase by $5 per ticket. JFG memberships will be verified at the door. Refunds will not be issued after April 23.

This project is partially funded by WESTAF, the Western States Arts Federation; the National Endowment for the Arts; the Japan Foundation (Los Angeles); and the San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.. 

See the Troupe's website here (Japanese language) こちら当社のウェブサイトをご覧ください

See the SD Guild of Puppetry website here


Come and enjoy a delightful performance by the EDO MARIONETTE GROUP (江戸糸あやつり人形劇場団 on Sunday, April 30 at 2:00 PM and 5:00 PM! This unique show is brought to you through the collaborative efforts of the San Diego Guild of Puppetry and the Japanese Friendship Garden Society of San Diego.

The Edo Marionette Group presents and preserves fine and sophisticated marionettes from the 17th century. The marionette (the string-controlled puppet, or ayatsuri ningyo) came to Japan from China about 360 years ago in the period of the reign of the Tokugawa Shogunate (the so-called Edo Period 1603-1868).

Various improvements have been added since then that have made the puppets sensitive, demanding, and extremely expressive. The Edo Marionette Group performance is poetry in motion, unbelievable virtuosity in handling the marionette, and the relationship between man and marionette.

In the program, there are four dances and two segments featuring explanations of the marionette shape and structure, given in Japanese through an English interpreter.

Marionette Dances "Kappore"

This is a male dance. When samurai ruled Japan, Tokyo was called Edo. This dance was a street performance, which was very popular when the location of the capital city, and the era, were changed from Edo to Tokyo. Actual Kappore dances are still seen in the traditional theaters and restaurants.

"Yoidore--A Drunkard"

In Edo festivals, people used to dance strangely to the merry music with flutes and drums. A man who is on his way home from a festival is stumbling along the street over a bottle of sake. After he has finished the bottle, he falls asleep, when suddenly loud music wakes him up and makes him dance.

"Kurokami--Black Hair"

This is a female dance. There is "Makurabyobu-folding screen" on a stage. It is a bit of Japanese furniture, usually placed at the corner of the Japanese bedside. There is a woman waiting for her lover. She spent last night with him, but she misses him so much that she wants him to visit her again tonight. Yet, she doesn't know if he is coming. She is waiting, as snow falls outside.

"Shishimai--Lion Dance"

This is a traditional dance whose variations are seen in East Asian countries. It is believed that the loud roar of a strong lion suppresses bad things like illness, and brings health and success. 

Earlier Event: April 15
8th Annual Membership Tea
Later Event: May 1
The Big Exchange