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Claralua is a story inspired by an ancient legend: the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter (Taketori Monogatari). The story is about Kaguyahime, a beautiful girl that was found inside a shiny bamboo log when she was a baby, by the old bamboo cutter called Okina. He and his wife brought up Kaguyahime as if she was their own daughter.  Since the first moment she brought much joy to their lives. However, during the night of the full moon, she was strange and silent looking at the moon.. It premiered at the Venice Carnival.

Artistic direction & Marionette’s criation: Beniko Tanaka (SOL’TA)
Narration: Suzana Branco
Marionette maniplations: Beniko & Chira Monachesi
Music: Johhan Merrich
Performance: Iralia Pasqualetto & Yania Rudolf
Video art: Nuno Caroço
Technics: Catarina Códia & Massimo Cemolani
Filming: Manuel Lino
Italy 2014 | Portugal 2015
Shadow puppets, body silhouette theater 

Mr. Japoneira

Once upon a time there was a man that loved Camellias, he lived on a Japanese island called “Izu Ôshima”. One day the man drank lots of sake and fell asleep. In his dreams there suddenly appeared “Our Lady of Camellias”, she asked him to bring back her Camellia sister, who was taken away from her a very long time ago. Therefore he started a long journey, he traveled through many western countries but wherever he searched he couldn’t find the flower. At the end of his journey he arrived in Porto, a city in the north of Portugal. It was there that he finally found the same Camellia he had seen on the island of Izu. Curiously the people of Porto called this Camellia “the Japanese”…

Performed in Portugal for Porto City's exhibition of Camelias 2015.

Project Director: Yukitaka Hihara
Produced & Performed by Beniko Tanaka & Nuno Caroço (SOL’TA)
Music: Mizuhiro Tasaki/Quartetto Classico
Filmed by  André Martins.  

Sunday's Rabbit

In the far East 2011 marked the year of the rabbit, but this was also the year of the Tsunami and of the ensuing nuclear disaster in Fukushima. This performance was a continuation of her work utilising the manipulation of silhouettes. It represented the musical dream of a Summer Sunday on the beach, it’s intention was to wish the children of Japan the possibility of being able to keep playing by the sea during their childhood.

Beniko Tanaka & DJ Num | Lisbon, Portugal 2011
Manipulated silhouettes / Eletronic Music / Multimedia

Bum Blue Bee

Bum Blue Bee was an original fairy tale created by Beniko. The performance was conducted with shadow puppets but also featured the projection of her voice and her painted and costumed body. She worked closely together with a composer on this one, playing simple instruments (like toy pianos and xylophones) and singing. A recorded narration by portuguese singer Guida de Palma, was also used for this act and the light design was entirely created by the artist.

Beniko Tanaka, Donatello Brida, Guida de Palma | Lisbon, Portugal 2012
Manipulated silhouettes / Multimedia

Deep Blue Bird

Using her original song "Linking Bird”, the artist created a new silhouette style for this performance, in memorium of Tsunami-Fukushima. Beniko manipulated the set, making projection and singing voice work together, while her designed-body silhouette moved simultaneously inside the screen. Originally, shadowgraph was used as a tribute to the dead, by expressing lost ones as shadows. Beniko recovers this concept, paying hommage to the deceased in this tragedy. This piece was also played in Venice, at Memoria D’Acqua: Ricordando lo Tsunami, an event that took place at Forte Marghera, in Venice in March 2014.

Beniko Tanaka, Lisbon, Portugal 2013 and Venice, Italy, 2014
Live Performance / Designed silhouettes on body

Magic Laundry Line

In Sweden the artist worked together with Association Eliza and Amazing marionettes to produce a burlesque silhouette-performance. Her moving body was projected onto a screen while in front of it, the performer told a comedy story, which was created specifically for this event.

Beniko Tanaka & Association Eliza&Amazing marionettes | Stockholm, Sweden 2013
Performance / moving silhouettes / manipulated marionettes


Following an invitation to return to Venice, the artist created puppets, scenarios and light design for the shadow theatre version of “Brundibar”. An opera written by Hans Krasa, who died in a concentration camp in 1944. It was performed on the 26th of January 2014, at Palazzo Grimani, together with an instrumental ensemble and a children's choir.

Beniko Tanaka & Associazione Culturale Musica Venezia| Italy, Venice 2013-2014
Lighting, marionette manipulation / shadow puppet theater

Don Giovanni

Together with Associazione Culturale Musica Venezia and following the invitation of director and producer Roberta Reader, Beniko produced her most ambitious piece so far: a shadow puppet version of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni”.  She was responsible for the whole production; from the design, creation and construction of images, to lighting design, scenarios and marionettes. While narrators recited the story, singers sang the opera arias accompanied by piano and the artist’s shadow theatre. The event took place at the courtyard of Telecom’s Future Centre, in Realto, Venice.

Beniko Tanaka & Associazione Culturale Musica Venezia | Venice, Italy 2013
Lighting/ marionette manipulation / shadow puppets theater

Seed in you

Silhouette animation making for a song