Inku
Japan Society of Fairfield County
Karakuri,
The Ancient Art of Japanese Automata

Shobei Tamaya IX and Tea Robot    Officers of  the Japan Society of Fairfield County were present at a recent demonstration of  Karakuri  robots by Shobei  Tamaya IX.  He is the ninth generation maker of Karakuri dolls in Tamaya cho in Nagoya and his family has been making these dolls for 260 years.  The first doll which was demonstrated was made approximately 350 years ago and serves a cup of tea.  The doll is powered by a clock spring motor and goes into motion when a cup of tea is set on the tray.  The doll carries the teacup across the table to the guest who takes the teacup.  The robot stops when the teacup is removed from the tray.  When the guest replaces the teacup, the robot turns around and takes the teacup away.

Archer Robot      The second robot demonstrated was about 150 years old and performed a far more complex action.
It was a samurai seated on a dais who took an arrow from a quiver, notched it in his bow, drew the bow, and fired the arrow.  He would proudly raise his head if he hit the target and lower it if he missed.  The head was carved in a manner similar to Noh masks which change their apparent disposition from happy to sad as the head is bent downwards.  Inside the dais, the mechanical agent powering the samurai archer was visible, a small doll turning a crank.
     The Japanese language website www.karakurirobot.org further describes these robots.
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