Jōruri (music)

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Jōruri (浄瑠璃) is a form of traditional Japanese narrative music in which a tayū (太夫) sings to the accompaniment of a shamisen.[1] Jōruri accompanies bunraku, traditional Japanese puppet theater.[2] As a form of storytelling, jōruri emphasizes the lyrics and narration rather than the music itself.[3]


According to Asai Ryōi, the first performer to have ever employed the shamisen during his storytelling, instead of the biwa, was chanter Sawazumi. The story he narrated was "Jōruri Jū-ni-dan zōshi", one of the many existing versions of the Jōruri Monogatari, which tells the tale of the tragic love between Minamoto no Yoshitsune and Jōruri-hime. Following this event, every tale sung to the accompaniment of a shamisen became emblematic of the jōruri style.

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  1. ^ Gerstle, C. Andrew (2000). 18th century Japan : culture and society. London: Routledge. pp. 51–59. ISBN 978-0-203-46249-2. OCLC 900292600.
  2. ^ "Jōruri | Japanese puppet theatre script | Britannica". www.britannica.com. Retrieved 2023-04-07.
  3. ^ "Ningyo Joruri: Traditional Puppet Theater | LIVE JAPAN travel guide". LIVE JAPAN. Retrieved 2023-04-07.