Thai puppeteer Sakorn Yang-keawsot dies at 85

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Joe Louis Puppet Theatre at the Suan Lum Night Bazaar where Sakorn performed.
Image: Lerdsuwa.

Sakorn Yang-keawsot, a legendary puppet master, died Monday as he was being taken to the hospital. He had recently received treatment for lung problems. He was 85.

Sakorn, considered by many in Thailand to be a national treasure, was the only one to carry on the Khru Gae tradition of puppetry.

Born in 1922, the son of two puppeteers, Sakorn gained popularity after World War II and earned the English nickname, Joe Louis.

He was credited with reviving the art in 1985, when he and his children started the Joe Louis Theatre. There they performed mystical plays and traditional Asian epics with metre-high papier-mâché puppets.

Sakorn is survived by nine children. Funeral rites which start today will continue through May 28. They take place at Wat Bangpai in Bang Bua Thong in Nonthaburi Province.