I don’t know what the oldest puppet troupe in the world is, but surely the Japanese Puppetry Company Youkiza is a serious contender for the honour. Youkiza performs a traditional style of Japanese marionette puppetry and have been the recipients of countless awards and honours for their work. They are the only surviving puppetry company from Japan’s Edo Period and for more than half a century have been formally designated an important Japanese Cultural Asset.
Brief clips of the company performing and demonstrations of how they build and perform their traditional Japanese marionettes can be seen in this Japanese video on YouTube.
To celebrate their 380th anniversary, Youkiza is performing Kantan and The Lady Aoi, two special adaptions of traditional Japanese Noh plays. Performances will be held at the Tokyo Metropolitan Theater June 19-23. For anyone in Japan who would like attend, tickets and more information can be found in Japanese here.