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Noh Puppets

            "A puppet is an inanimate object moved by a human agent before an audience with the intention of communicating something through the process of representation." -Jane Law.
             It never occurred to me that Puppets might be utilized in Noh drama. Class discussion and the readings never approached the topic. I was very surprised to find references to it as I began to compile research for a journal entry assigned by my professor. The decision was easy, something had to be written about this obscurity. If puppetry had not made it's way into any of my class work the topic must be addressed. As I began my work it became clear that the relationship of puppetry and Noh is a mystery to most theater historians. .
             Karen Brazell - Traditional Japanese Theater.
             Brazell devotes one paragraph to puppets in his book. He takes the time to note the use of the puppets in the drama. He makes the connection between the ritual use of puppets and the transfer of puppets to the Noh drama and eventually to a dramatic theater tradition solely consisting of puppets.
             Late medieval records mention Noh plays staged with puppets [they] served as mediums in Shinto rituals to express the words and perform the actions of the gods puppeteers (ebisu kake) connected with the Ebisu Shrine at Nishinomiya and specializing in plays about the deity Ebisu were particularly well known other puppeteers were connected with temples and presented tales about Buddhist deities and related themes. Not, however, until puppeteers joined forces with Joruri chanters and shamisen players was the Puppet Theater truly established. (Brazell 11).
             Brazell does this in very vague terms alluding to medieval records she does not cite, the place of puppets on stage without describing their function or purpose, and writing one line about the establishment of a puppet theater. Brazell seems not to take this connection seriously. The paragraph about puppetry can easily be read or interpreted as smoke billowing out of Brazell's train of thought.

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