Supporting Japan-related programs in European Capitals of Culture

Shobei Tamaya and the Puppeteers showing the manipulation

Karakuri – Japanese Automata Performance

San Sebastian2016

Traditional Culture

From a traditional Japanese performing art to puppet artistry charming the world

The performance of Wonder of Karakuri Ningyo has been a unique opportunity to discover a traditional puppet art with 300 years of history. Karakuri are traditional puppets in castelets with a very sophisticated mechanism that could make them seem like robots or antique machines, in fact it is said that there are the forerunners of the robots. The way that Mrs. Yasuko Senda explained what Karakuri Ningyo was and the way as Mr. Shobei Tamaya showed the audience how the puppets worked were such interesting that they won the adults and children audience from San Sebastian they were astonished looking at those small creatures with delicate movements. They played 10 times in different places of San Sebastian, from Miramar Palace to a Mall, and in Tolosa; in every place the answer of the audience was a huge applause. Karakuri Ningyo friends were also one of the most interviewed by the media.

Written by Idoya Otegui Martínez 


28 May to 5 Jun. 2016


TOPIC Tolosa Puppet Thatre

Japanese participants:

Shobei Tamaya IX (Karakuri Ningyo Company) , Yasuko Senda

Other participated companies:

Marionetteatern (Sweden), El Espejo Negro (Spain), Lichtbende Theatre (Netherlands), Kakashiza (Japan), ASSITEJ & Speeljtheater (South Africa), La Enananaranja (Spain), Puppets Lab (Bulgaria), La Licorne (France), La Fontana Sombras Animadas (Portugal), Hand Made Theatre (Spain), Unterwaser (Italy), Tol Theatre (Belgium), Laura Heitt (U.S.A.), Wild Theatre (Austria), S.A: Marionetas (Portugal), Creature (France), Titiriteros de Binefar (Spain), Marcelo Lafontana (Brasil), Roberto White (Argentina), Markeliñe (Spain)


Date Venue
29 May 2016  Miramar Palace
31 May 2016 Garbera Mall
2 Jun. 2016  Euskalherria Plaza (Tolosa)
4 Jun. 2016 Tabakalera (Kutxa Kultura Plaza)
5 Jun. 2016 Kiosko del Boulevard

Related program:

  • World Puppet & UNIMA Congress 2016
    Date: 28 May to 5 Jun. 2016
    Venue: San Sebastian, Tolosa

Yasuko Senda and a boy from the audience (look his expression!) with a karakuri

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