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Puppetry is a form of theatre or performance that involves the manipulation of puppets – inanimate objects, often resembling some type of human or animal figure, that are animated or manipulated by a human called a puppeteer. The puppeteer uses movements of her hands, arms, or control devices such as rods or strings to move the body, head, limbs, and in some cases the mouth and eyes of the puppet.
The puppeteer often speaks in the voice of the character of the puppet, and then synchronizes the movements of the puppet's mouth with this spoken part.
Japan has many forms of puppetry, including the bunraku.
Bunraku developed out of Shinto temple rites and gradually became a highly sophisticated form of puppetry.
A hand puppet is controlled by one hand which occupies the interior of the puppet and moves the puppet around (Punch and Judy puppets are familiar examples of hand puppets).
A "live-hand puppet" is similar to a hand puppet but is larger and requires two puppeteers for each puppet.
This led to puppet societies becoming secretive and exclusive. In the ancient Indian epic Mahabharata there are references to puppets. Padhye, introduced this form of puppetry to India in the 1920s and his son, Ramdas Padhye, subsequently popularised ventriloquism and puppetry.
A large rod under the water is used by the puppeteers to support and control the puppets.Chikamatsu Monzaemon, considered by many to be Japan's greatest playwright, gave up writing Kabuki plays and focused exclusively on the puppet-only Bunraku plays.Initially consisting of one puppeteer, by 1730 three puppeteers were used to operate each puppet in full view of the audience.In Taiwan, budaixi puppet shows, somewhat similar to the Japanese Bunraku, occur with puppeteers working in the background or underground.
Some very experienced puppeteers can manipulate their puppets to perform various stunts, for example, somersaults in the air.The appearance is created of the puppets moving over water.