Japan Society of Fairfield County
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.
The Ancient Art of Japanese Automata
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
further describes these robots.
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