Karakurizōshi Ayatsuri Sakon

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Karakurizōshi Ayatsuri Sakon
Doll Puppeteer Sakon.jpg
Doll Puppeteer Sakon
GenreMystery, supernatural[1]
Written byMasaru Miyazaki
Illustrated byTakeshi Obata
Published byShueisha
MagazineWeekly Shōnen Jump
Original run19951996
Anime television series
Directed byHitoyuki Matsui
StudioTokyo Movie Shinsha
Original networkWOWOW
Original run October 8, 1999 March 31, 2000
Light novel
Written byTakashi Yamada
Maro Sharaku
Illustrated byTakeshi Obata
Published byShueisha
ImprintJump J Books
PublishedApril 26, 1996
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and Manga portal

Karakurizōshi Ayatsuri Sakon (人形(からくり)草紙あやつり左近, lit. "Doll Puppeteer Sakon") is a manga series written by Masaru Miyazaki (under the alias Sharakumaro) and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. The plot follows Tachibana Sakon (橘 左近), a bunraku puppeteer who solves mysteries with Ukon (右近), a puppet.

Karakurizōshi Ayatsuri Sakon was serialized in the Shueisha magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1995 to 1996. The chapters were collected into four Tankōbon bound volumes. The manga was adapted into an animated television series by Tokyo Movie Shinsha and broadcast on the satellite network WOWOW from October 8, 1999, to March 31, 2000.


Sakon Tachibana (橘 左近 Tachibana Sakon)

A master puppeteer who likes to travel and solve mysteries along his journeys with his puppet and best friend, Ukon. When he does not have Ukon with him, he is a very timid, humble young boy. However, once he places Ukon on his hand, he develops a careful, quiet, observant and calculating personality. He is displayed as a brilliant young man who can solve any case but feels that sometimes it is best "not to see everything so clearly", and is often underestimated by the criminals because of his young age and occupation as a puppeteer. He is also considered very handsome and cute, despite his young age and is often hit on by older women, much to his embarrassment and annoyance. He often worries whenever Ukon is not with him, considering him as his family, and is shown to have a kind heart and will do his best to help those in need. It has been shown that when he was younger, he was often bullied for liking and playing with puppets and that when he was seven, his father committed suicide after injuring another performer's face by accident.

Ukon (右近 Ukon)

A 100-year-old child doll made in the early Meiji era by a famous puppet maker. When Sakon operates him, he appears to come to life, having a very distinct personality that differs drastically from Sakon's reserved, quiet nature (when he holds Ukon); however, the two continue to have a strong sibling like bond. He is loud, talkative, rude, and likes beautiful girls. He tends to jump to conclusions in his deductions of who the criminal is, and becomes irritated if Sakon does not tell him what he is thinking or who he suspects is the criminal, often relying on him to explain his deduction of the crime. He is also the one to inspire confidence in Sakon and the victims of the case they are trying to solve. He also has the ability to allow the souls of the dead to take possession of his body to listen to their final words before their death, which often comes in handy when solving mysteries.

Kaoruko Tachibana (橘 薫子 Tachibana Kaoruko)

Sakon's aunt from his mother's side and assistant police detective. She often follows Sakon on his journeys so she can meet handsome men and eat delicious food, and believes herself to be a rare beauty. She also often focuses more on the motives of people involved in a crime rather than their alibis and possible method of murder, which she often relies on Sakon for. She insists that Sakon call her "Kaoruko nee-san" rather than "Kaoruko obaa-san" and hits Ukon whenever he insults her or says a careless remark.

Zenkichi Fujita (Fujita Zenkichi)

A photographer friend of Sakon's, who sometimes joins him on his travels, and helps in his investigations. He is obsessed with taking pictures, but tends to forget to take them, which Ukon makes note of.

Hazuki Funasaki (船橋葉月 Funasaki Hazuki)

A supporting character in the first investigation, she requests Sakon's help after she receives a strange letter. She was a part of a puppet club in school, and during her time there, an accident had happened which led to the suicide of one of the members. She is very laid back, and easy going.

Mai Kawai (河合 舞 Kawai Mai)

A pop idol, who appears as a supporting character in the second mystery. Her production crew, and friends gather at a puppet mansion to film a new show starring her. Mai is very shy, quiet and easily startled.

Sayoko Fukami (深見 小夜子 Fukami Sayoko)

A supporting character, who appears in the third mystery involving the puppet workshop. She is a young girl, whose best friend is a black cat named Ririsu.

Shiho Akizuki (秋月 四帆 Akizuki Shiho)

A supporting character of the 2nd arc of the anime series and is the 4th child of the Akizuki Family. In the arc her brother, the first born child of the Akizuki family is accused of murder...and slowly her family members start dying starting with her father the head of the family. She refuses to believe that her brother is the killer, and helps Sakon figure out the mystery.

Ittetsu Kisaragi (如月 一徹Kisaragi Ittetsu)

A supporting character in the fifth mystery, involving an Egyptian museum. He is in fact, a long time friend of Sakon. He was originally Sakon's teacher, who told him to never give up in his passion for puppetry.

Naoto Kujou (九条 直人Kujou Naoto)

A supporting character in the sixth mystery, he is Kaoruko's fiance in an arranged marriage. He is in fact one of the best performers at Kujou Academy.

Hoshie Nishimura (西村 星江Nishimura Hoshie)

A supporting character in the seventh mystery. Her sister Tsukiko, committed suicide six months ago. People have started to report seeing the ghost of Tsukiko wandering around, and even committing murder.


Episode list[edit]

No. Title Original air date
1"Vengeful Demon of the Abandoned School - Part I" (「廃校の復讐鬼」〜第二段〜)October 8, 1999 (1999-10-08)
Funasaki Hazuki invites Sakon to a meeting of six members of her old primary school puppetry club in the now-abandoned building. Mysterious events occur and one of the group is killed. The bridge connecting the school to the village is destroyed and they are stranded with the investigating policeman.
2"Vengeful Demon of the Abandoned School - Part II" (「廃校の復讐鬼」〜第三段〜)October 13, 1999 (1999-10-13)
In the abandoned school, the students behave irrationally out of fear as one student after another is killed, including it appears, the policeman.
3"Vengeful Demon of the Abandoned School - Part II" (「廃校の復讐鬼」〜第三段〜)October 20, 1999 (1999-10-20)
Sakon reveals that the policeman is the killer seeking revenge. He is the brother of Osamu, a student who committed suicide after the puppetry club members bullied him years ago.
4"The Izu Two-Faced Oni - Part I" (「豆州弐面鬼傀儡地獄」〜第二段〜)October 27, 1999 (1999-10-27)
Sakon takes Ukon to a puppet mansion to see a statue of a two-faced demon. While there, he encounters the pop idol Mai Kawai and her group of friends and affiliates. One of the group, Yagisawa, is killed when the two-faced demon statue falls on him. His aunt, Tachibana Kaoruko believes that it was an accident, but Sakon suspects murder.
5"The Izu Two-Faced Oni - Part II" (「豆州弐面鬼傀儡地獄」〜第三段〜)November 3, 1999 (1999-11-03)
After a second person, Takamua, is killed with a Nihinto, Sakon suspects the killer is one of the group and believes that it is related to a murder that took place there 16 years earlier.
6"The Izu Two-Faced Oni - Part III" (「豆州弐面鬼傀儡地獄」〜第四段〜)November 10, 1999 (1999-11-10)
As Sakon was carrying out his investigation, Yagisawa confessed his guilt and then jumped to his death.
7"The Izu Two-Faced Oni - Part IV" (「左近からくり変化の章」〜第一段〜)November 17, 1999 (1999-11-17)
Sakon deduces that Yagisawa committed suicide to protect the identity of Sato, Mai's mother who killed her abusive husband in the puppet mansion 16 years ago and who has been managing Mai under an assumed identity. Sakon reveals that it was Sato who killed Sugiyama because he was blackmailing her.
8"Sakons Puppet: The Ghost Chapter - Part I" (「左近からくり変化の章」〜第二段〜)November 24, 1999 (1999-11-24)
Ukon needs repairs, so Sakon leaves the puppet with the craftsman Hayami at Fukami's puppetry workshop. When Sakon returns to retrieve Ukon there is a gas explosion and fire in Hayami's workshop and living quarters and Hayami is burned to death.
9"Sakons Puppet: The Ghost Chapter - Part II" (「左近からくり変化の章」〜第三段〜)December 1, 1999 (1999-12-01)
Fortunately Ukon had already been repaired by Sensei Fukami and was not in Hayami's workshop when it burned down. Everyone believes the explosion was caused by the young girl Saya's cat Ririsu that was also killed in the fire, but Sakon is suspicious. Sakon suspects that someone removed the gas hose, and plugged the outlet with cheese. The cat Ririsu then ate the cheese, releasing the gas and making it look like an accidental explosion. Next, Yoshida, another craftsman and one of the suspects, appears to have hanged himself.
10"Sakons Puppet: The Ghost Chapter - Part III" (「信州百狐血雨地獄」〜第一段〜)December 8, 1999 (1999-12-08)
Sakon deduces from evidence that a left-handed person committed both murders, but everyone there is right-handed. Sako discovers that Aoki, an assistant with his head bandaged from a fire, years earlier, is really left-handed. Sakon uses Ukon to mimic the voices of the dead men, tricking Aoki into confessing that he is the killer. It is revealed that Aoki is in reality the ex-husband of Keiko, Hayami's partner, and Aoki is seeking revenge for the death of their daughter years earlier in the fire that disfigured him when he tried to save her.
11"The Blood Rain of the One Hundred Foxes of Shinshu - Part I" (「信州百狐血雨地獄」〜第二段〜)December 15, 1999 (1999-12-15)
Sakon is invited by the Akizuki family to give a Bunraku performance. After the performance, the head of the family, Souichirou Akizuki receives a call and suddenly leaves. Meanwhile, Sakon is told that there have been slasher killing in the nearby village, and Akizuki's eldest son, Kyouichi is the main suspect. He has gone missing with an apparently cursed Byakko sword. A few hours later, another call is received saying that Souichirou has been murdered by his own son!
12"The Blood Rain of the One Hundred Foxes of Shinshu - Part II" (「信州百狐血雨地獄」〜第三段〜)December 22, 1999 (1999-12-22)
Sakon suspects foul play, and finds blood spatters on hydrangea flowers in the nearby Byakko Temple grounds. Legend says that the Temple was built to venerate the spirits of 100 foxes whose blood the master swordsmith Muramasa used the during the quenching process to forge the Byakko sword. Sakon suggests that someone else killed Souichirou Akizuki and placed the blame on his son Kyouichi.
13"The Blood Rain of the One Hundred Foxes of Shinshu - Part III" (「埃及大王呪術地獄」〜第一段〜)December 29, 1999 (1999-12-29)
Sakon holds a seance with Ukon where Kyouichi's voice appears to reveal that he is dead and buried near flowers. A family friend, Oki Katsumi, reveals himself as the killer when he tries to dig up Kyouichi's body. Katsumi attacks with the Byakko sword, but breaks it on a stone fox statue and he is killed by the broken blade.
14"Curse of the Egyptian Pharaoh - Part I" (「埃及大王呪術地獄」〜第二段〜)January 5, 2000 (2000-01-05)
Sakon visits the Ran'ou Museum to see his old Elementary School Master and mentor Kisaragi Ittetsu. Suddenly the Museum's director Yuuki Mari is found dead, killed by an Egyptian knife which was to be the main attraction in a new exhibition. Kaoruko finds evidence pointing to Kisaragi as the killer.
15"Curse of the Egyptian Pharaoh - Part II" (「埃及大王呪術地獄」〜第三段〜)January 12, 2000 (2000-01-12)
Sakon believes that Kisaragi is innocent. He also finds that there are numerous tensions within the museum staff and that the director was unpopular. Sakon asks Kaoruko to delay the arrest for 24 hours to give him time to prove Kisaragi's innocence.
16"Curse of the Egyptian Pharaoh - Part III" (「埃及大王呪術地獄」〜第四段〜)January 19, 2000 (2000-01-19)
During the investigation, Isshiki, the museum's manager becomes the main suspect but he seems to have a watertight alibi because he lives a long distance form the museum. Sakon suspects that he is living nearby with a female museum staff member, Takahashi, but then she is killed in the museum by a falling statue.
17"Curse of the Egyptian Pharaoh - Part IV" (「薪能薫悲恋情」〜第一段〜)January 26, 2000 (2000-01-26)
Kaoruko finds evidence that Isshiki has been living at Takahashi's house, and then Sakon discovers that the telephone handsets in the museum had been tampered with. Sakno tricks Isshiki into revealing that he knew about the telephone tampering, discrediting his alibi and exposing him as the murderer. It appears that Museum's director Yuuki Mari realized that the Egyptian knife that Isshiki purchased was a fake. Isshiki then killed her to hide his grave professional mistake.
18"The Sympathy of Kaoru's Disappointed Love - Part I" (「薪能薫悲恋情」〜第二段〜)February 2, 2000 (2000-02-02)
Sakon travels with Kaoruko to the house of Noh master Kujou to meet Naoto, the senior apprentice and potential partner in an arranged marriage. They find friction in the household with the eldest son Kouei a drunkard, jealous of his talented younger half-brother Eimei. On the eve of Naoto's, final performance for the Kujou school, master Kujou is shot through the head by an arrow from a cross-bow some distance away. Kaoruko commences an investigation, with everyone under suspicion, including the niece Aki and long term attendant, Tsubota.
19"The Sympathy of Kaoru's Disappointed Love - Part II" (「薪能薫悲恋情」〜第三段〜)February 9, 2000 (2000-02-09)
Aki reveals that Kouei is in deep in debt for gambling and becomes the main suspect, but Sakon reveals that the arrow was triggered by a timer, making anyone the potential killer. Because the crossbow was on a timer, they cannot determine if Kujou or Naoto was the target. Naoto finds a threatening note in his room, fired by the same crossbow that killed master Kujou, and then Aki is found stabbed to death by someone wearing an Oni mask. Following the attacker, they find Kouei dead in a crashed car with the Oni mask and costume, indicating that may have been the murderer all along.
20"The Sympathy of Kaoru's Disappointed Love - Part III" (「奥飛騨幽霊奇譚」〜第一段〜)February 16, 2000 (2000-02-16)
Sakon realizes that Aki was an accomplice in the murder of Kujou, but is unconvinced that Kouei was the mastermind. Tsubota tells Sakon and Kaoruko how Eimei's mother was forbidden to enter the Kujou school and 10 years ago committed suicide in protest at not being able to see her son, pointing to Eimei as the murderer. However Eimei is found dead at the bottom of a cliff by Naoto. To Kaoruko's surprise, Sakon eventually reveals that Naoto is the mastermind behind the murders, using Tsubota to help him rid the Kujou school of what he saw as its unworthy successors, enabling him to take over himself. Kaoruko is deeply hurt by Naoto's callous behaviour, but tries not to show it.
21"Eccentric Talk of the Okuhida Ghost - Part I" (「奥飛騨幽霊奇譚」〜第二段〜)February 23, 2000 (2000-02-23)
Sakon, Kaoruko, Zenkichi, and Shiho go to Hida Takayama for a puppeteer festival and apparently see a ghost, the spirit of Nishimura Tsukiko, She was said to have committed suicide after making a mistake at the hospital where she worked and her fiance Numata Mitsuru's sister Youko died. Since then Numata Mitsuru has changed incurred gambling debts. Hoshie says she can't believe that her sister Tsukiko made a medical mistake or took her own life as that was completely out of character. Later Sakon and his group apparently see the ghost of Tsukiko push Numata Mitsuru to his death at a nearby hot springs.
22"Eccentric Talk of the Okuhida Ghost - Part II" (「奥飛騨幽霊奇譚」〜第三段〜)March 2, 2000 (2000-03-02)
Sakon's investigations find that Dr. Kobayashi had Youko hospitalized even though she was not very ill. He also frequented a club in Tokyo where she worked as a hostess. Meanwhile, there are more ghostly sightings of Tsukiko, and the next day, Dr. Kobayashi is found hanged after being lured to a warehouse by a note from Tsukiko. Just then, Tsukiko walks by, suffering from amnesia. Hoshie explains to her who she is and Tsukiko gives them a videotape she found nearby. The tape shows Dr. Kobayashi being attacked in the warehouse, apparently by Tsukiko.
23"Eccentric Talk of the Okuhida Ghost - Part III" (「恋花時雨咲乱舞」〜第一段〜)March 9, 2000 (2000-03-09)
On closer examination of the videotape, it appears that someone else was also in the warehouse before Dr. Kobayashi was killed. The ambitious Hospital director Terao appears to be the only one to benefit from the deaths. On their way to question Terao, his water mill house explodes with him inside. Sakon believes that he knows the killer, and catches and confronts Numata Mitsuru who is still alive after faking his own death. With these events, and the sight of a Takayama doll, Tsukiko recovers her memory, but has no recollection of recent events and is protected from the knowledge of her former fiance Mitsuri's murders.
24"Love Flowers Tearfall Profuse Bloom Dance - Part I" (「恋花時雨咲乱舞」〜第二段〜)March 16, 2000 (2000-03-16)
During family puppetry event, Sakon's grandfather Tachibana Saemon collapses during the performance. Later he declares Sakon as his successor, much to the dismay of other older puppeteers. During the play, "Love Flowers Tearfall Profuse Bloom Dance” led by Sakon, the most senior puppeteer, Niemon, collapses and dies on stage while manipulating the puppet of the demon which is said to be cursed.
25"Love Flowers Tearfall Profuse Bloom Dance - Part II" (「恋花時雨咲乱舞」〜第三段〜)March 23, 2000 (2000-03-23)
Niemon Tomonori is found to have died from cyanide poisoning from a needle embedded in the demon puppet. A comment by Tomonori's son makes Sakon think the poison was meant for him. Later, two attempts are made on Sakon's life and his room is ransacked. Sakon suspects that someone from the Suou puppet school is involved. Zenkichi discovers that the collapse of the Suou school 20 years ago was partly attributed by the media to Sakon's grandfather Saemon. Following a visit to the abandoned Suou household, Zenkichi sees Ayano and then someone tries to run his motorcycle off the road.
26"Love Flowers Tearfall Profuse Bloom Dance - Part III" (「恋花時雨咲乱舞」〜第三段〜)March 30, 2000 (2000-03-30)
Zenkichi crashes his motorcycle and Shinozaki admits responsibility. However Sakon suspects the puppet hairdresser Ayano and confronts her in the theater. She reveals that she and her brother wanted revenge on the Tachibana family for the calamity that befell the Suou family: her father committing suicide and her mother going insane. After her brother suicided 10 years ago, her hatred for the Tachibanas grew and she was driven by the need for revenge. Saemon intervenes and shows her a letter from her brother to Sakon's father when he committed suicide, forgiving the Tachibana family and hoping that Ayano will give up thoughts of revenge. Afterwards, Sakon cannot practice, but Shiho uses Ukon to break his somber mood, and Sakon goes on to give his first public performance.


  1. ^ "Death Note Artist Obata to Attend Japan Expo in Paris". Anime News Network. Retrieved July 22, 2018.

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