Manzai, Hanakurabe shiki no kotobuki, an episode from The Celebration of the Four Seasons, performed in UNESCO on 26 February 2004

manzai©UNESCO/Niamh Burke



TOYOTAKE Hanafusa dayu, TAKEMOTO Nanto dayu, TOYOTAKE Sakiho dayu, TOYOTAKE Tsubasa dayu


Puppeteers: Tayu: YOSHIDA Kazuo
Saizo: YOSHIDA Tamame




The scene takes place on the streets of Kyoto. The facades of the houses are decorated with the traditional shimenawa (a rope of twisting strands of rice straw) and large arrangements of pine branches, called hadomatsu, are placed in front of each house. To greet the god of the New Year, two street entertainers (Manzai: Tayu and Saizo) go from house to house extending greetings and best wishes for prosperity and longevity. They sing "May you remain young and enjoy a long and prosperous life. A joyous new year has begun..." and frolic about while singing a song whose lyrics are intended to bring good fortune, "The Yashome family of Kyoto sold big sea bream, small sea bream and yellowtail. What do I see on the shelves? Fabrics of brocade, damask and bright red silk crepe, bright red satin!"


Gidayu for dance


Gidayu is a style of Japanese musical narration developed by Takemoto Gidayu (1651-1714) and widely known as the vocal and instrumental accompaniment to the traditional Bunraku puppet theatre. Originally dance pieces didn't exist in the Gidayu. During the Bunka-Bunsei period (Bunka, 18044816; Bunsei, 1819-1831), pieces specifically conceived for dance appeared in Gidayu plays owing to the influence of Kabuki, which actively incorporated dance in theatrical performances.


This play, which illustrates the introduction of dance, was first performed in 1809 in the temple of Goryosha in Osaka. It is divided into four acts, each associated with one of the four seasons: "Manzai" (spring), "Ama" (summer), "Sekiderakomachi" (autumn) and "Sagimusume" (winter). It is believed that the music was composed by TSURUSAWA Tomojiro III and that NOZAWA Kichibei III adapted it at a later date. Excerpts from this play are occasionally performed separately.


(Text: © UNESCO, Intangible Heritage Section)



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The Secret of Sharing in Bunraku Theatre, the puppets's inner life, the Shamisen, the Tayu


Ningyo Johruri Bunraku Puppet Theatre


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