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Japan Week: Rakugo: a Traditional Comedy Storytelling
Rakugo is a form of Japanese comic monologue storytelling with an enriched 400 years’ tradition. A Rakugo performance features a lone storyteller dressed in kimono, a traditional Japanese garment, kneeling on a cushion, using only a fan and a hand towel as props. Today, there are two main traditions of Rakugo, the Edo Rakugo originated from Tokyo, and the Kamigata Rakugo originated from Osaka and Kyoto. There are many different forms of Rakugo: varying from theater, musical, ghost, sentimental, and many other discourses. In order to become a professional Rakugoka, one must be apprenticed to a Rakugo master and received a stage name. There are three ranks in the Rakugoka hierarchy: Zenza, the opening act performer, Futatsume, the Rakugoka status between amateur and professional, and Shin’ Uchi, the full-fledged master of storytelling.

Oct 9, 2021 11:00 AM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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Tozaburo (Zabu) Yanagiya
Tozaburo “Zabu” Yanagiya III is a famous Japanese Rakugoka, director, scriptwriter, actor, and associate professor at Toa University. Born and raised in Tokyo, He was accepted as a disciple by Rakugo Master Gontaro Yanagiya III, and started as a trainee in 1999 at the age of 22, after dropping out of a prestigious private university in Japan. In March 2014, on the 15th year of Tozaburo’s Rakugo career, he was promoted to “Shin’ Uchi,” the master rank of a Rakugo Storyteller, and succeeded to the name of Tozaburo Yanagiya the third we know today. Ever since, Shin' Uchi Rakugoka Tozaburo has performed all over Japan and appeared in the Shoten Rakugo show and other television programs.