Sarukura Puppet Theater
Location: Muranami, Masuzawa, Kita-Akita City
Site(s) of performance: Anywhere
Designation: Prefecture-Designated Intangible Folkloric Cultural Property
Category: Puppet Theater and Kabuki
The Sarukura Puppet Theater was born in Momoyake (former Chōkai Town) as a modern popular puppet theater. Yohachi Ikeda devised improved finger puppets to create a new puppet theater with dramatic stories and music. Around 1902, his disciples, Tokichi Masaka (alias Katsuwaka Masaka) and Kesazo Maruta, added their innovations. Tokichi, who was an excellent player of shamisen (three-stringed traditional Japanese musical instruments), found commercial success and established the tradition of Sarukura Puppet Theater.