This paper investigates the influence of the bunraku, Japanese puppet theatre, on Edward Gordon CRAIG, based on the transmission of the puppet images in Gakuya Zue Shui. In this book, SHOKOSAI Hambei, the illustrator of theatrical performances, explained in detail the system of the puppet theatre and its environments as well as the construction of the puppets with a lot of illustrations. CRAIG traced these illustrations repeatedly and published them and the other images from Gakuya Zue Shui in his book and journals.
For CRAIG, who is known to have advocated replacing the human actor with the “Über-marionette”, the bunraku puppet with its mechanism for complicated movements “comparable to the human figure”, represented at least “a thorough marionette”, if not “the ideal marionette”.
CRAIG's interest in the Japanese puppet theatre can be understood only against the background of the wide and intensive international networks of modernism and Japonism between Japan, Europe and the United States. This paper also shows some of these networks following up the transmission of puppet images in Gakuya Zue Shui. Lastly, it analyzes Yone NOGUCHI's article “The Puppet-Theatre of Japan” and CRAIG's “Postscript” in Puppets and Poets as examples of cultural interaction.