PUPPET THEATRE PUK (LA PUPA KLUBO in Esperanto) was founded by the late Toji Kawajiri, the elder brother of PUK’s Artistic Director the late Taiji Kawajiri(1914-1994), in 1929, the same year as UNIMA foundation. PUK being an artistic group based on free-expression and anti-war ideals, its activities were mercilessly opressed and perspected by the authorities of those days. PUK had to change its name several times and lost many of its members before and during the World War II.
PUPPET THEATRE PUK started, right after the War , its free artistic activities and then grew up to be a big groupe of more than eighty members and owing its Theatre House is actually the meeting place of puppeteers.
PUPPET THEATRE PUK has three main sections – Puppet Troupe Section, Theatre House Section and TV Section. These sections are, sometimes independently, sometimes collaborating each other, organising various activities.
Several troups, being and small, are permanently touring all over Japan. PUK goes abroad too. PUK already met people of Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Czecho,Slovakia, Germany, Poland,Australia, Canada, USA, Mexico and so on.
PUPPET THEATRE PUK started its creative activities with marionette technique. However, PUK soon enlarged its technical range adapting hand puppet, rod puppet, shadow puppet, Japanese traditional puppets and many others so as to puesue a wider possibility of theatrical expression. As Japan has a long and various traditional and folk puppetry trends, PUK is very proud of making use of those cultural treasures in modern creation.
What's PUK Puppet Theatre?
The PUK Puppet Theater celebrated its 45th Anniversary in November 2016. Standing at the heart of Tokyo, in Shinjyuku, the theater was Japan's first modern theater built specifically to stage puppet plays.
Each year, the theater presents approximately 10 different plays, with performances on more than 120 days (plays for families, and plays for adults that run for 10 or more days). Since 1971, the theater has also hosted some 50 performances by outstanding puppet theater troupes from throughout the world, such as Percy Press and his Junior (Great Britain), Albrecht Roser (Germany), Dick Myers (U.S.A.), Jim Gamble (U.S.A.), Jean-Paul Hubert (France), Richard Bradshaw (Australia), Central Puppet Theater-Sofia (Bulgaria), and State Puppet Theater-Varna (Bulgaria).
For the 30th Anniversary performance, Ms. Todorka Rouskova of Bulgaria was invited to direct the Puppet Theater PUK troupe’s reinterpretation of Flight with Gloves, which was extremely well-received. The Marriage of the Souls, a monodrama performed by Mr. Sim Woo-Sung, topped off the program. The National Puppetry Monodrama Contest was also held.
In addition to these puppet plays, the theater program also featured Portuguese guitar, French chanson, and Japanese drum concerts, and variety shows.
Private theaters like the PUK Puppet Theater receive no financial support from the government. Altogether the PUK group comprises three independent companies: the Puppet Theater PUK troupe, the PUK Puppet Theater, and STUDIO NOVA (the visual section). While these three are operated separately, they also cooperate with each other in their various projects and activities.