Taking on the bold move to entertain non-Japanese audience with rakugo, a traditional form of Japanese solo storytelling, Ichinosuke Shunputei will be flying out of the country and perform before Europeans with sub-titles available. Joining Ichinosuke on his trip is his female apprentice Pikkari.
The 35-year old rakugo master will perform in Europe beginning October 11 until the 22nd. His 11-day tour will include Austria, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, and Spain. As one country’s humour could be different from another, it might be a challenge for Shunputei entertaining his European audience. He will be performing his ‘sit down’ act in pure Japanese, but with subtitles to allow non-Japanese audience experience an authentic performance of rakugo, which requires the story-teller to sit for a long period of time. Rakugo is also known for utilizing limited props, such as only a fan and handkerchief.
Although subtitles will be available, there remains the possibility that only Japanese or those who have fully understood, or is at least familiar with Japanese culture, can get the humour. Even so, Shunputei hopes that his audience will find something to laugh about in his performance. “Even if the audience doesn’t get the joke immediately, if they can have a laugh after they get home, that’s fine too,” he said.
Shunputei came to love rakugo after he watched one in Asakusa District, Tokyo 13 years ago. He thought he could use his tendency to talk to himself and translate that into story telling through rakugo, which only has one performer portraying multiple characters.
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