Rakugo (落語) is a traditional and very famous way of storytelling in Japan. While performing, the storyteller sits on a on a small mattress called zabuton (座布団), dressed in his Kimono and acts out the whole story by himself. Therefore the performer has to slip into the role of many different characters. To make it easy for the audience to notice, the performer changes his voice and behavior. Usually the performers are equipped with a fan (sensu - 扇子) and a hand towel (tenugui - 手拭い). They need nothing more to express and act out the story. They use the fan to imitate chopsticks, scissors, cigarettes, pipes or pens. The towel is needed to imitate books, bills or actual towels. The stories are usually funny and amusing, but can be also serious and sorrowful.
The Rakugo (落語) in Yanaka on the 14th March was held in English and was a part of the "Thanks! with YOU" program. The intention in doing it not in Japanese was to attract more tourists to this fine art of Japanese culture.
First Kanariya Eiraku introduced the art of Rakugo (落語) to the audience. The room was filled to capacity with people from all over the world. After this introduction and some short stories he performed the song "Ue wo Muite Arukō" (上を向いて歩こう), which is also known as "Sukiyaki", in memory of the victims of the Tsunami last year.
The whole program was a big success. It is much to be hoped, that many other people will visit the following events to enjoy and understand a great part of the Japanese culture.
Here's a little view on the program:
Let’s try some short stories: Kanariya Eiraku
Dog’s eyes: Kanariya Kosei
Little Miss Quiet: Kanariya Cocoa
Judgment of Tengu: Kanariya Ichien
Otanoshimi: Kanariya Eiraku