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  • Japanese: 浄瑠璃 (joururi)

Jôruri was a narrative storytelling form, accompanied on biwa, which emerged sometime after 1525, and which later evolved into the ningyô jôruri or bunraku puppet theatre of the Edo period.

The form takes its name from Jôruri-hime monogatari, or The Tale of Princess Jôruri, also known as jûnidan ("The Story in Twelve Parts"),[1] the most popular of the stories performed in this mode. Supposedly written by a woman by the name of Ono Otsû,[2] the story is told in twelve acts, and features Ushiwakamaru (a young Minamoto no Yoshitsune) as the hero, and Princess Jôruri (Jôruri hime) as the heroine.

With the addition of puppets in the late 16th or early 17th century, the jôruri musical & narrative form developed into ningyô jôruri ("Puppet Jôruri"), a very prominent, popular, and influential Edo period theatrical form which later came to be known as Bunraku.


  • Andrew Tsubaki, "The Performing Arts of Sixteenth-Century Japan: A Prelude to Kabuki," Educational Theatre Journal 29:3 (1977), 304.
  1. Charles Dunn and Torigoe Bunzô, The Actors' Analects, New York: Columbia University Press (1969), 81.
  2. Gallery label, "Poster for a Gidayu Performance, or Celebration," East-West Center Gallery, Honolulu.[1]