United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
Japanese Intangible Heritage Honoured at UNESCO

Traditional Japanese puppet theatre, ningyo johruri bunraku, a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity, will be honoured on February 26 (Room I, 7:00 pm) during a performance organized by UNESCO, the Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan (Bunka-cho), and the Permanent Delegation of Japan at UNESCO with the cooperation of the Japan Arts Council and the Bunraku Association.

The performance, which coincides with the annual meeting of UNESCO’s Goodwill Ambassadors, will include episodes from two famous works of the Bunraku repertoire: “Manzai” (The Celebration of the Four Seasons) and “Osono” (A Tragic Love Triangle). A brief explanation of bunraku will be presented between the two episodes.

Along with nô and kabuki, bunraku is one of the main genres of traditional Japanese theatre. Blending chanted narrative, instrumental accompaniment and puppet drama, it emerged during the early Edo period (1600 – 1867), from the blending of ningyo puppetry with the popular 15th century narrative genre johruri.

UNESCO proclaimed bunraku “a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity” in November 2003 for its outstanding value from an artistic and historic perspective. This distinction, established in 1997, has been awarded to 47 cultural spaces and expressions from every part of the planet. These masterpieces are a vivid representation of the world’s cultural wealth and diversity.

UNESCO accords great importance to the safeguarding of this cultural heritage, which is particularly vulnerable. This concern led UNESCO’s General Conference to adopt in October 2003 a new convention for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage, which will enter into force when it is ratified by at least 30 Member States.


Journalists wishing to attend the performance should request an invitation,
Tel: +33 (0)1 45 68 17 47

Source Avis aux médias No 2004 - 11
Generic Field
Publication Date 23 Feb 2004
© UNESCO 1995-2007 - ID: 18677