Iida Puppet Festa

August 23rd, 2012 by
Category: Culture Art, Events

Participants' badge purchased by audiences, puppeteers and workers all participate in the festival to support the event

On August 5th, I went to Iida to see Iida Puppet Festa (festival) because when I was involved in making leaflets and a program guide of that famous international puppet event last year, I became to be keen to see it.

The festival started as a tiny event in 1979 and now 430 shows are performed at 130 venues in the whole Iida area and 40,000 attendants enjoy them!

I watched a Cambodian traditional shadow puppet performance (Intangible Cultural Heritage designated by UNESCO), a Spanish performance by “stone puppets”, and other two free (you only need to have a badge in the right photo) performances by Japanese groups at a special stage in the Festa Central Park and in a hotel “Fringe theater”.

Cambodian traditional shadow puppet performance player

I was impressed that even the free small performances are very high-level. Children in Iida are very happy because they grow up while they watch and experience the festival every year. When they become adults, many of them will get involved as volunteer workers, audiences, and puppeteers. It is “tradition”.

I regretted a little that I couldn’t have time to see Japanese traditional puppet performances like bunraku, which are continuing to be performed more than 300 years and made Iida “the town of puppet”.

Supprise Performance of Puppet "Noisy" Parade, Held in Friday's Evening (photo by Festival Committee)

This event is held the 1st Thursday to Sunday in August (4 days) every year.

Next year 2013, a special “Asian Puppet Festival” is planned for 6 days with the ordinal Puppet Festival.

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