【Finished】[English] Jazz-Bunraku – The Cat Who Went to Heaven (Performed in English with Japanese subtitles)

First Performance in Japan!
from Off-Broadway!
Jazz Puppet Show!

Sagami Puppet Theater SHIMONAKAZA
Music, Lyrics and Adaptation by: Nancy Harrow
Directed by: Will Pomerantz

Based on: The Cat Who Went to Heaven
Written by Elizabeth Coatsworth
YOKOHAMA and ODAWRA performances in
February / March, 2022!

A Collaboration between Jazz & Bunraku

  • Will Pomerantz (Director) & Sagami Puppet Theater SHIMONAKAZA
    *Important intangible folk cultural property
  • Based on a best-seller children’s book ‘The Cat Who Went to Heaven’, written by Elizabeth Coatsworth, a 1931 ‘Newbery Award’ winner.
  • Dramatized as a musical by the noted Jazz singer songwriter Nancy Harrow.

Must-see performance for:

  • Bunraku and other Japanese traditional performing arts fans.
  • Cat, Jazz, English & American literature afectionados.
  • Those who are studying English and foreign residents in Japan。
  • Those who are interested in Buddhism.Those who have thought that the Japanese traditional performing arts were difficult to approach.


Dates & Venues

(1) 2022.2.27 (Sun)

Kanagawa Prefectural Youth Center Momijizaka Hall
Momijigaoka 9-1, Nishi-ku, Yokohama
Tel: 045-263-4400
Doors open: 13:00 Curtain: 13:30

(2) 2022.3.6 (Sun)

Odawara Sannomaru Hall
Honcho 1-7-50, Odawara
Doors open: 13:00 Curtain: 13:30


・Adults: ¥2,500
・Senior citizens (65 and over) & Students: ¥2,000
・Elementary school & under: ¥1,000


Part I: Jazz-Bunraku
The Cat Who Went to Heaven (Performed in English with Japanese subtitles)

Original story: The Cat Who Went to Heaven
Written by Elizabeth Coatsworth
Adaptation, music and lyrics by: Nancy Harrow
Directed by: Will Pomerantz
Performed by: Sagami Puppet Theater SHIMONAKAZA


A poor Japanese artist sends his housekeeper out to buy food. Instead, she brings home a
cat from the village. The painter is very unhappy with this choice at first, but the kind,
affectionate, and beautiful cat manages to win over the artist. The artist agrees to keep the
cat and gives her the name Good Fortune.

One day, the painter is visited by a Buddhist priest from the local temple. He has been selected to paint a Nirvana picture of the Buddha. As the artist prepares to paint the picture, he realizes that the cat is not one of the animals who came to pay respect to the Buddha, and therefore was not painted in the picture.

Each day, as he paints a new animal, Good Fortune comes to see if a cat has been included.
Good Fortune becomes sadder and sadder, and eventually stops eating. The artist is so troubled by the cat’s sorrow that he makes a momentous decision. 

Part II: Historical Play
Troubles in the Date Clan, Act of ‘Masaoka’s Loyalty’ (Performed in Japanese with English subtitles)

Tayu (narrator): Kimie Kuroyanagai
Shamisen: Tosako Takemoto


A dramatization of a family feud in the domain of Sendai, depicting the struggle between
villains who sought to take over the Date clan, and the nurse who protects the young lord
from assassination attempts.

Masaoka, the nurse is constantly at the side of Tsurukiyo, the young lord, to protect his life. She has raised her son Senmatsu to act as a poison taster.

One day, Sakae, an envoy of the Shogun Yoritomo, brings suspicious confectionery to
Tsurukiyo. She is the wife of Kajiwara, a chief vassal of the Shogun. Lady Sakae urges the
young lord to eat the confectionery, but Senmatsu runs to it and eats it up.

He immediately starts to suffer. In fear of the plot to kill Tsurukiyo being discovered, Yashio, the evil villain tortures Senmatsu to death. Masaoka, however, maintains composure and endures her pain without shedding a single tear. 

What made her repress the feelings of grief at losing her own child?


  • A talk session by Mineko Hayashi (Representative, SHIMONAKAZA), Nancy Harrow and Will Pomerantz is planned before the performance of ‘The Cat Who Went to Heaven’
  • A workshop will be held after the performance of ‘Troubles in the Date Clan Act of Masaoka’s Loyalty’, consisting of:
    Presentation on the structure of puppets.
    Puppeteering with audience participation.
  • Please note that there may be program change due to the effects of COVID 19.


Presented by:
Jazz Bunraku The Cat Who Went to Heaven Executive Committee

Supported by:
Kanagawa Prefecture
Kanagawa Prefectural Board of Education  
Odawara City
Odawara City Board of Education
Embassy of the United States
Japan Folk Performing Arts Association
Kanagawa Shimbun
Sankei Shimbun
Yokohama General Office
Mainichi Shimbun Yokohama Branch
Yomiuri Shimbun Yokohama Branch
Television Kanagawa
FM Yokohama
FM Odawara 87.9MHz

Special sponsorship by:
Kanagawa Toyota Motor Corporation

Co-sponsored by:
The Bank of Yokohama, Ltd.
Chikazawa Lace Co., Ltd.
Yokohama Okadaya Co., Ltd.
Hotel New Grand
Tenseien Station Hotel Odawara
Hiyoshi Kaisoten, Ltd.

Planning and production by:
Office Saint Marie

In collaboration with:
Sagami Puppet Theater SHIMONAKAZA

Subsidies from:
Japan Arts Council
Magcul Promotion Program provided by the Kanagawa Prefecture

Ticket Information

(1) 2022.2.27 (Sun)
Kanagawa Prefectural Youth Center MOMIJIZAKA Hall

  • Ticket Kanagawa
    TEL: 0570-015-415 (10:00-18:00)
    * please be careful not to dial a wrong number
    Web: https://www.kanagawa-arts.or.jp/tc/
    * registration of ‘Kame’ membership required

(2) 2022.3.6(Sun)
Odawara Sannomaru Hall

  • Reception desk at the Sannomaru Hall
    TEL: 0465-20-4152 (10:00-20:00)
    Web: http://www.ooo-hall.jp Events calendar > Tickets reservation
  • Information desk at the HARUNE Odawara
    underground shopping center (10:00-19:00)
    * Over the counter sales only. Closed on January 31.

Inquiries and Ticket reservations

Jazz Bunraku The Cat Who Went to Heaven Executive Committee

TEL: 050-3629-1754 (Weekdays 10:00-18:00)
Cell Phone: 090-8816-3790 (English)

e-mail: fukucat2021@gmail.com

* Please provide the following information when purchasing/reserving the tickets.
– name
– address
– e-mail address
– telephone / cell phone no.
– performance date / venue
– types of tickets ( Adults ¥2,500 / Senior Citizens and Students ¥2,000 / Elementary School and under ¥1,000) 
– number of tickets

Ticket Order Form


Kanagawa Prefectural Youth Center MOMIJIZAKA Hall

Momijigaoka 9-1, Nishi-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa
TEL: 045-263-4400

8 minutes walk from JR Negishi Line SAKURAGICHO station North ticket gate, West Exit
10 minutes walk from Yokohama Municipal Subway SAKURAGICHO station
13 minutes walk from Keihin Kyuko Line HINODECHO station

Odawara Sannomaru Hall

Honcho 1-7-50, Odawara, Kanagwa
TEL: 0465-20-4152

13 minutes walk from East Exit, Odawara station
JR Tokaido Line Tokaido Shinkansen Odakyu Odawara Line,
Izu Hakone Daiyuzan Line Hakone Testudo Line

Creative Staff and Crew

Jazz-Bunraku The Cat Who Went to Heaven

Based on:
The Cat Who Went to Heaven
written by Elizabeth Coatsworth
©️Macmillan Company 1930
Courtesy of: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Adaptation, music and lyrics by:
Nancy Harrow

Directed by:
Will Pomerantz

Narration and Lyrics Translated by:
Mariko Yokoyama

from the CD
The Cat Who Went to Heaven
(p)2005 Artist House ©️2005 Nancy Harrow
Produced by John Snyder

Narrated by:
Kameron Steele

Sung by:
Grady Tate (The Artist)
Nancy Harrow (The Cat)
Daryl Sherman (The Housekeeper)
Anton Krukowski (The Priest)

Kenny Barron
George Mraz
Dennis Mackrel
Clark Terry
John Mosca,
Charles Pillow
Frank Wess
Gerry Neiwood
Mark Feldman String Quartet

Japanese Instruments:
Ronnie Seldin
Mutsumi Takamizu

Cat Puppet Designed and built by:

Puppets touched up by:

Nirvana Painting designed by:

Troubles in the Date Clan

Tayu (Narrator):
Kimie Kuroyanagi

Tosako Takemoto



Puppets costumes:


Large Props:
Kanai Scene Shop

Stage lighting:
Jun Shinobe & Pacific Art Center Inc.

Stage sound:
Pacific Art Center Inc.

English / Japanese subtitles:
Mariko Yokoyama

Filming and recording:
Tetsuya Kuroda

Design and Layout:
Increase Corporation


Kennedy Center

Nirvana Painting and Nehan-e

The painting depicts the scene of the Buddha’s death. His body is lying with his head pointing north on a dais with bodhisattvas, disciples, and animals grieving his death. This death is referred to as Nehan, or Nirvana.

Believed to be sinful, cats were not generally included in the paintings in those days. However, about ten Nirvana Paintings ‘with a CAT’ have been found so far, including the famous work at the Tokeiji Temple in Kamakura.

Nehan-e is a Buddhist memorial service held on the 15th of either February or March, depending on the calendar each temple follows, to commemorate the Buddha’s passing. Nirvana paintings are displayed simultaneously as the principal image of worship at all temples in Japan. The dates for the performances of ‘Jazz-Bunraku The Cat Who Went to Heaven’ were chosen to coincide with the ‘Nehan-e’.

Evolution of the Cat Puppet, Good Fortune

Since there were no Cat puppets before, a new one had to be specially created for the show.
After six months of discussions between a veteran Bunraku puppet craftsman and the American and Japanese production staff, and after making three prototypes, the puppet finally took on a life of its own.

Other Puppets in ‘The Cat Who Went to Heaven’