The magic behind “utsushi-e” is as simple as a flick of the wrist. A form of animation first appearing over 200 years ago in Edo (Tokyo), it’s little more than a series of of glass slides set in front of a crude candle projector. Nevertheless a show is nothing short of breathtaking. After wowing visitors at the Christmas Market this past November, artistic troupe Minzawa is once again set to entertain with their own brand of “utsushi-e”. Remember to drop by their stand (No. B-15) where you can pick up a free postcard, and if you’re lucky, get it signed by the performers!
Showing will be the 1929 masterpiece “Kobutori” (lit: “plump”) which was directed by the visionary director Yasuji Murata. Also showing will be “Akai Rosoku To Ningyo” (“The Mermaid and the Red Candle”) by children’s storybook writer Mimei Ogawa. These two works of art will surely warm the heart of any anime fan with their retro feel and warm lines. More may be showing, so expect the unexpected!
As a special feature, the stylish Samurai musical drama “Samurai Opera” will also be shown. This short 20-minute feature combines traditional samurai storylines with English-language opera, making for a slightly odd yet delightful, and definitely humurous experience.
An artistic group formed in 1968, Minzawa has been entertaining children and adults alike across the Japanese archipelago with their productions of shadow puppetry, “utsushi-e” and other traditional forms of Japanese theatre. Dedicated to supporting the traditional arts, the group is focused on using and keeping alive the traditional methods.