During the Edo Period, there was a time when puppet play became the most popular form of entertainment among the common people. At one time, they were so popular that Kabuki actors even began mimicking the movement of the puppets.
The era of Ningyo Joruri (puppet play later called Bunraku) began in 1684 when Takemoto Gidayu, a narrator, opened a theater in Dotonbori. He was joined by Chikamatsu Monzaemon, the genius playwright who was often called "the Shakespeare of Japan."
Dotonbori in Osaka has been the "Broadway of Japan" located in the distinctive trading city of Osaka where traders and merchants gather. Most of the audience were merchants and some wealthy farmers. The economic power of the merchants was growing strong but yet their social ranking was at the bottom under the strict Tokugawa government. The farmers suffered from natural disasters and heavy taxes placed upon them by their ruling Samurai lords. Chikamatsu grabbed the hearts of the audience with stories filled with tears and passion often involving emotional struggles such as the duty and royalty over their true feelings, unfulfilled love because of family or society which lead to double suicides, and so on.
This Takeda Doll was probably made in the beginning of the Meiji period (1868-1912). The doll caught the action beautifully on stage but the facial expression is subtle compared to some other Takeda dolls. Approx. size is 17 inches tall, the size of the stand is 13” x 9” x 3”.