Renowned Japanese Puppet Troupe Visits USC Upstate, March 24

March 21, 2016 at 9:15 am

Japanese-puppet-troupe-1-600x400The University of South Carolina Upstate is excited to welcome the celebrated Tonda Ningyô Jôruri Puppet Theater for a performance of traditional Japanese puppetry 7 p.m. Thursday, March 24 in the Humanities and Performing Arts Center Theatre.

The troupe led by Hidehiko Abe, who traces his ancestry back seven generations to one of the founding members of the troupe, will perform three plays from the 18th and 19th century using life-size puppets. Some of the puppets used by the Tonda troupe are more than 200 years old.

The puppets are approximately one-half or two-thirds life-size and operated by at least three puppeteers must all become one with the doll in order to manipulate it. With flawless coordination, the puppets appear to move about in a human fashion and look as if they are alive.

The Tonda troupe, founded in the 1830s, tours regularly in Japan and instructs middle school, high school and college-age students in the art of traditional Japanese puppetry.

A short presentation for classroom viewing will be held at 3 p.m. in the Sansbury Campus Life Center Amphitheatre.

Other events happening to celebrate Upstate International Month include:

  • “Through a Gap in the Shoji, ” — on display through March 31, a Japanese photo display by Japanese Kyudo master, Edwin Symmes in the Chancellor’s Gallery located in the John C. Stockwell Administration Building.
  • “Japanese Life and Legend in Miniature,” — 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 23, Tukey Theatre, located inside the Smith Building – a presentation and display of Netsuke, miniature carvings from Japan, by Kyudo master Edwin Symmes

All events are free and open to the public.

For more information, please contact Dr. Deryle Hope at (864) 503-5661 or