The Japan Foundation Centre for Cultural Exchange in Vietnam will present a performance of traditional Japanese bunraku puppetry theatre in HCM City in mid-July. Photo courtesy of the organiser

HCM City  (VNS/VNA) - The Japan Foundation Centre for Cultural Exchange in Vietnam will present a performance of traditional Japanese bunraku puppetry theatre in Ho Chi Minh City 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 play is about the tragic love story of Oshichi, a daughter of a greengrocer, and her lover Kichisaburo, a page at the Kisshoin Temple.

The excerpt features a scene in which Oshichi finds the lost sword of her lover who is about to commit seppuku.

However, she cannot visit him because the gates around the city are closed at night. She climbs a fire tower on a snowy night to sound a false fire alarm to open the gates, though she knows that sounding the false alarm is a serious crime.

The performance will feature six leading performers of the Bunraku Company from Osaka. A demonstration and Q&A section will be given after the performance.

Founded in Osaka in the beginning of the 17th century, bunraku uses half life-size dolls to act out a chanted dramatic narrative to the accompaniment of a small samisen (three-stringed Japanese lute).

The puppetry theatre is derived from historical plays set in feudal times and contemporary dramas exploring the conflict between affairs of the heart and social obligations.

Around 160 works out of the 700 plays written during the Edo period are used in today’s repertory.

In 2003, UNESCO declared bunraku a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

The performances in HCM City will start at 3pm and 7pm on July 12 at the The Gioi Tre Theatre.

The program is not recommended for children under 12 years old.

The Japan Foundation Centre will also organise two other shows at the Vietnam Youth Theatre in Hanoi on July 14.-VNS/VNA