The Japan Foundation Centre for Cultural Exchange in Vietnam will present a performance of traditional Japanese Bunraku puppetry theatre in HCMC in mid-July to mark 45 years of Vietnam-Japan diplomatic ties. The 20-minute performance will include an excerpt from Date Musume Koi No Higanoko (The Red-Hot Love of the Greengrocer’s Daughter), a bunraku masterpiece based on a real story that occurred during the Edo period about 300 years ago.

The performances in HCM City will start at 3pm and 7pm on July 12 at Thế Giới Trẻ Theatre at 125 Cống Quỳnh Street in District 1. The program is not recommended for children under 12 years old. The Japan Foundation Centre will also organize two other shows at the Vietnam Youth Theatre in Hanoi on July 14. Free tickets will be available at the center from July 7.

HISTORY: Bunraku’s history goes as far back as the 16th century but the origins of the modern form can be traced to the 1680s. It rose to popularity after the playwright Chikamatsu Monzaemon (1653-1724) began a collaboration with the magnificent chanter Takemoto Gidayu (1651-1714), who established the Takemoto puppet theater in Osaka in 1684. Originally, the term Bunraku referred only to the particular theater established in 1805 in Osaka, which was named the Bunrakuza after the puppeteering ensemble of Uemura Bunrakuken (植村文楽軒, 1751–1810), an early 18th-century puppeteer from Awaji, whose efforts revived the flagging fortunes of the traditional puppet theater.

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