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Living treasure Takemoto Gendayu to retire from bunraku theater

July 14, 2014

Takemoto Gendayu, a renowned Japanese traditional "joruri bunraku" puppet play master, will retire due to his health condition, the bunraku association said Monday.

The retirement of Takemoto, 82, means there will be no puppeteer designated as a living national treasure in the centuries-old joruri bunraku puppet theater after the other living national treasure, Takemoto Sumitayu, 89, retired in May.

The association said it is a "big blow" to lose those outstanding masters for joruri bunraku or one of the leading Japanese traditional performing arts.

Takemoto Gendayu, who started his career in 1946 as apprentice to Takemoto Oritayu IV, assumed his grandfather's name of Gendayu in 2011 after he was named as a living national treasure by the government in 2007.

He has not taken part in a puppet show since his performance at the National Theatre in Tokyo in May last year because of his health condition.

Takemoto Gendayu said he decided to retire due to the energy and stamina needed for play performances.

The joruri bunraku puppet show was recognized as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2003 and as an intangible cultural asset in 2008 by the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

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Source: Japan Economic Newswire

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