personne

Takeda lineage

竹田人形座

Country

Japan

The lineage of Japanese puppeteers founded by Takeda Izumo I (? -1747). As author and theatre entrepreneur, he spearheaded innovations in ningyō jōruri (see Bunraku). Coming from a puppeteer background, he joined the management of the Takemoto-za and took over as director after Takemoto Gidayū.

Takeda Izumo I is credited with a number of innovations, especially the installation of the narrator and musicians in full audience view and allowing viewers to see the top half of manipulators’ bodies. He helped perfect puppetry technique, elaborated scenic devices and costuming, and adopted the three-man manipulation practice developed by Yoshida Bunzaburō, relying on these elements in the midst of large-scale performances. A student of Chikamatsu Monzaemon, he wrote many libretto, the first ones, like Ōtō no miya Asahi no yoroi (The Prince of the Great Pagoda, 1723), under the direct supervision of his teacher. His complete works consist of eleven plays, and he participated in publishing and editing a dozen well-known librettos, and a number of poem collections.  

His son Takeda Izumo II (1691-1756) took up the direction of the Takemoto-za on the death of his father and led the troupe until the l750s during the golden age of ningyō jōruri. He formalized the system of multiple authorship, leading to plays of complexity, length, with multiple intrigues in a single script. As a playwright, he played a major role in the composition of the three great historical dramas of the repertory: Sugawara Denjū tenarai kagami (Sugawara and the Secrets of Calligraphy), Yoshitsune senbon zakura (Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees), and Kanadehon Chūshingura (The Treasury of Loyal Retainers).

Takeda Izumo II’s son became Takeda Izumo III. He assumed leadership of the Takemoto-za and collaborated in writing half a dozen plays. During his directorship a decline began which finally led to the closing of the theatre in 1792.  

(See Japan.)