Japanese puppet theatre. It was created by Asahi Wakateru around 1880 in the village of Saibata, now part of the small town of Haruno in the south of the island of Shikoku in Japan.

Originally a simple hand (glove) manipulated puppet, a decade later technical possibilities were developed by attaching umbrella ribs to the hands of the figures. Asahi Wakateru’s successor, Asahi-Wakateru II, developed an improved method to move the head by inserting the thumb into a pipe for manipulating the neck, which facilitated more forceful movements, making fight scenes that are presented in the classical repertoire more dynamic.

The actual company was founded in 1965, but it continued to have difficult moments and sometimes had to cease activities until it participated in the project, “Tradition and the Modern World”, organized by the company Ningyō-Gekidan PŪKU (PUK Puppet Theatre), which allowed the company to perform in Tokyo and become known by all the amateurs of the genre. Since then the troupe has produced regularly in Japan and has participated with the Ningyō-Gekijō-Takenoko (Takenoko Puppet Troupe) in UNIMA festivals in Moscow (1976) and Liège, Belgium (1979).

The director of the troupe takes the name of the founder, becoming Asahi Wakateru III. The company, with a half dozen members, produces work in Japan, South Korea, and the Pacific area countries.

(See Japan.)