The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Union Internationale de la Marionette (UNIMA)
(International Institute of Puppetry)

General Secretariat of UNIMA
10, Cours Aristide BRIAND - B.P. 402
08107 Charleville-Mézières - France
Phone: +33 (0) 3 24 32 85 63
Fax: +33 (0) 3 24 32 76 92


2-12-3-2F, Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-0053 JAPAN
Phone & Fax: +81-3-3379-337
Arts Organization of the Month Arts Organization of the Month
Mar. 28, 2013
Union Internationale de la Marionette (UNIMA) 
The International Institute of Puppetry, commonly known as UNIMA (Union Internationale de la Marionette), is an international organization that brings together people from around the world who contribute to the development of the art of puppetry. UNIMA’s objective is to use this art in the pursuit of human values such as peace and mutual understanding between peoples, regardless of race, political or religious convictions and differences in culture.
The organization was founded originally at the Fifth Convention of Czech Puppeteers in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1929 by invited puppeteers from Bulgaria, France, Yugoslavia, Germany, Austria, Romania, the Soviet Union and from the host country. During the 1960s, National Centers and Representatives were established in the member countries and each center began its own activities. Also, the World Puppetry Festivals held in conjunction with the UMIMA Congress meeting were begun. The organization moved its offices to Charleville-Mézières, France in 1980. In 1993, UMINA became an NGO under the auspices of UNESCO. (The Japan center of UMINA, Nihon-UMINA, was founded in 1967)
Presently, there are national UMINA centers established in 73 countries around the world (and another ten countries and regions have plans in motion to establish national centers). Since 1974, the UMIMA Congress and the accompanying World Puppetry Festival have been held once every four years on a rotating basis among the member countries. Until now, the festivals have been held in Japan (1988 / Nagoya, Iida, Tokyo), Slovenia (1992 / Ljubljana), Hungary (1996 / Budapest), Germany (2000 / Magdeburg), Croatia (2004 / Rijeka), Australia (2008 / Perth) and China (2012 / Chengdu). These festivals bring together large numbers of puppeteers, from top class international artists to local puppetry groups, for puppet theater performances, exhibitions and displays of works by puppet makers. The most recent event in Chengdu in 2012, over 1,000 people gathered and some 757 performances of 102 puppet plays were performed by 66 puppetry groups from 45 countries.
Since 2000, the organization has held summer workshops in Charleville-Mézières and other programs aimed not only at raising the level of puppet theater but also conducting programs in the areas of nurturing young performers, education and therapy.