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Watoku Ueno is a designer, director and puppet maker, creating enchanting shadow puppet shows..

A Tree is a predominant theme in his latest shadow puppet work.

He is the recipient of the  2024  The Bronx Cultural Visions Fund -concept development for "Silent Green"

2022  The Bronx Council on The Arts Grant for The Spuyten Duyvil Story 

2021 Jim Henson production Grant for  The Tall Keyaki Tree.

Shadow puppet theatre 

Silent Green - work in progress (2024) original story by Watoku Ueno

The Spuyten Duyvil Story (2022) original story by Watoku Ueno

LaMama Puppet Festival (2021)

LaMama Kids (2021)

The Tall Keyaki Tree (2020, 2021) - inspired by the Five- Storied Pagoda by Koda Rohan

A Hillock (2020) - based on The Earthgod & The Fox by Kenji Miyazawa

The Grain of Wood (2018)

Secret (2016) - original story by Watoku Ueno
Brother-Ken/Night of Tanabata (2015)original story by Watoku Ueno
The Curious Case of the Sidewalk Tree(2014) - original story by Watoku Ueno
John Man: On the Waves (2013)based on the life of John Manjiro
Music in the Wood (2012)story by Luige Dal Cin
Gorsch the Cellist/Illumination (2011)based on the novel by Kenji Miyazawa
Tiger Rising (2009)story by Kate DiCamillo adapted by Watoku Ueno
The Boy Who Drew Cats (2005)story by Lafcadio Harn, adapted by Watoku Ueno




Yara Arts Group (resident company at La MaMa) 1989 –present
Set & Light Design, directing credit for some of the shows // One tour abroad per season.

Ping Chong & Co.
Angels of Swedenborg (remake 2011),

The Devil You Know (2010),

Secret History (2000),

After Sorrow (1997),

Deshima (1993)

UBU Repertory Theatre 1990 – 2000
Resident set designer. Designed 3-5 productions per season.

Japanese Theatre - Technical
SANBASO, divine dance (Kyogen) at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (2013) // Master carpenter
Kyogen (Noh style comedy)at Lincoln Center. 
Bunnraku(traditional puppet theatre) at Japan Society 

Kabuki at Japan Society
Bunna Come Down at Hunter College
Wind of God at American Place Theatre 
Utamaro- toured universities in west coast & at J.F.Kennedy Center 
Yasuko Nagamine (ButohDance) at Carnegie Hall 

Sokei Academy of Fine Arts – Tokyo


Jim Henson workshop grant (2020) and production grant (2021) for  The Tall Keyaki Tree.
New York State Council on the Arts - Individual Artist -Design Commissions

2003, 2005, 2009, 2012,2015.
Nominated for Henry Hewes Design award: After the Rain (2008) Deshima (1993.)

NEA/TCG Design Fellowship in set & lights: 1991-1992.

Special Skills:
Projection on various materials, Carpentry with Japanese traditional tools.

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