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Tokushima: Puppet Theater Releases Metamorphosing Paper Craft

Yomiuri Shimbun photos
Paper craft that is modeled after Princess Kiyo and can change her expression from a normal princess to a demon.

TOKUSHIMA — Tokushima Prefectural Awa Jurobe Yashiki, a puppet theater and museum where the traditional puppet show Awa Ningyo Joruri is performed, started selling a paper craft kit of a hand puppet with a face that can be changed from a dovelike princess to a terrifying oni demon.

The craft is modeled after Princess Kiyo from the play, “Hidakagawa Iriai Zakura.” She has fallen for an ascetic monk, but he escapes her. She then transforms into a giant serpent and crosses the Hidaka River — now in Wakayama Prefecture — to chase after him.

Yomiuri Shimbun file photos
The scene of Princess Kiyo changing her facial expression in the play “Hidakagawa Iriai Zakura.”

In joruri, Kiyo is played by a puppet that has the feature of its mouth splitting open when portraying rage. The paper craft kit has this feature, too, where the puppet’s expression changes from a lovely-looking woman to a wide-eyed, horned and fanged ogre. The craft can be made from a single sheet of A4-size cardboard using a cutter, scissors and glue in about 15 minutes.

The museum requested Chiikuji — an online creator who makes videos showing how to handcraft toys with cardboard and other materials — to produce the joruri kit, with the goal of getting people interested in the traditional performing art.

The ¥330 kit is available at the puppet museum in Tokushima and also at Dojoji temple — where the story is set — in the town of Hidakagawa, Wakayama Prefecture, as well as the National Bunraku Theatre in Osaka.