By Roy Mabasa
The traditional Japanese art of storytelling called “Rakugo” will capture Filipino crowd with a three-night performance tour in Manila and Davao City thru the auspices of the Japan Foundation.
To be delivered in English, the show entitled “Yose Rakugo” will feature performances by Rakugo masters Katsura Kaishi, Katsura Asakichi, Katsura Fukuryu, Hayashiya Emimaru and traditional juggler Akatsuki Anko.
Yose refers to an establishment where people watch the centuries-old Japanese entertainment.
Rakugo can trace its roots in the 9th and 10th centuries and still enjoys wide popularity to this day. The Rakugo artist sits on a cushion and, using only a Japanese fan (sensu) and a hand towel (tenugui) as props, reenacts well-loved stories by playing out different characters.
It was said that the original form of Rakugo turned from humorous narrative into monologue upon the request of Japan’s ‘daimyos’ or feudal lords, seeking people skilled enough to entertain them with different kinds of storytelling.
At present, there are an estimated 800 professional Rakugo performers that exist in Japan.
The Manila leg of Yose Rakugo will be held on January 26 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium in Makati City while the regional performances will be in Marco Polo Ballroom, Davao City on Jan 23 and Mindanao Kokusai Daigaku on January 24, respectively.
The Japan Foundation, an institution under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs dedicated to carrying out comprehensive international cultural exchanges, has partnered with ANA for the Philippine production of the Rakugo.
Organizers said admission is free but a prior reservation is required.