While I am working on merchandise for the Houston Festival I thought you might be interested to see a video I recently watched on Arimatsu’s fall festival where several floats are paraded around town. These floats date from the late 1600’s to mid 19th century and are taken out twice a year-once in the spring (3rd Sunday in March) for the Shibori Festival and then again for the Autumn Festival (1st Sunday in October) . Karakuri dolls (mechanized puppets) decorate the floats and perform special duties such as letter writing and small papers are symbolically thrown from the floats. Note the shibori fabrics worn by the local men hoisting the float.
I have always been drawn to Japanese puppetry. When I was in college I was fortunate to take a class in puppetry from Charles Taylor where I explored and made several puppets loosely based on kakakuri. Having grown up in Japan I had also experienced several bunraku performances. Mr. Taylor’s style of puppetry was completely different but he was very encouraging of my diversions. As usual, I was on my own path.
Two summers ago on a trip to Japan with the boys, I took these videos of a kakakuri at a Kyoto shrine.
You dropped coins into a box and the kakakuri delivered a prayer paper to you which you then tied to a string holding the prayers of many others. Students were out in full force placing prayer papers in hopes of achieving good marks on their exams.
I will be in Arimatsu next May but I will miss any festival involving the floats but I understand they are housed in a float museum in Arimatsu. I’ll probably pass on that since I expect to be busy looking at shibori!
Polewrapping 20 poles today! mata-ne!