Sarukura Puppet Theater (Nonaka-Yoshida Puppet Theater)
Location: Kashiwabara, Ugo Town
Site(s) of performance: Ugo Town Folktale Center
Date(s): Last Saturday of January (annual performance) and August 17
Designation: Prefecture-Designated Intangible Folkloric Cultural Property
Category: Puppet Theater and Kabuki
Sarukura Puppet Theater (also known as Nonaka Puppet Theater) was born in Momoyake (former Chōkai Town) as a modern popular puppet theater. Yohachi Ikeda improved finger puppets to create a new puppet theater with dramatic stories and music. Around 1902, his disciples, Tokichi Masaka (alias Katsuwaka Masaka) and Kesaz Maruta, added their innovations. Tokichi, who was an excellent player of shamisen (three-stringed traditional Japanese musical instruments), earned commercial success and established the tradition of Sarukura Puppet Theater.