CUL Digital Collection: Bunraku Puppet Theater

Bunraku, Japanese puppet theater, is an unusually complex dramatic form, a collaborative effort among puppeteers, narrators, and musicians. This online exhibit features highlights from the Barbara Curtis Adachi Bunraku collection. This unique collection is held at the C. V. Starr East Asian Library.

The Barbara Curtis Adachi Collection, given to Columbia’s C. V. Starr East Asian Library in 1991, is one of the most extensive collections in the world visually documenting this rich performance tradition. The collection represents four decades of close contact and respectful collaboration between Ms. Adachi and the Japanese National Bunraku Troupe, the leading performance group of Bunraku in the world, and documents the significant revival of Bunraku’s popularity in the second half of the twentieth century.

The Bunraku gallery is divided into plays, productions, authors, backstage subjects, kashira (puppet head types), and characters. It documents the form’s revival in the second half of the 20th century, through more than 13,000 slides and over 7,000 black-and-white photographs of rehearsals and performances.

The Libraries invites you to explore the world of Bunraku.