Youkiza was first founded by Youki Magosaburo in 1635, during Japan's Edo Period. Now, 374 years later (as of 2008), the company is designated a "National Selected Intangible Folk Cultural Property" and a "Tokyo Municipal Intangible Cultural Property" and is the only company in Japan specializing in Edo Period string-operated marionettes. Youkiza is also the only one of the "Five Theater Companies" officially sanctioned by the Edo Shogunate that is still operating today. The company now combines the traditional repertoire with new plays by contemporary playwrights and adaptations of plays in translation. The company frequently performs overseas, and their performance of Macbeth at the 1986 Belgrade International Drama Festival won the festival's Special Award. In July of 2007, as one of the main attractions of the Avignon Festival, the company gave a return performance of the 2002 production Les Paravents (The Screens) written and directed by FreLdeLric Fisbach based on the original by Jean Genet.