Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sept 25: FREE English Rakugo-Japanese Sit-Down Comedy in English at the Ayala Museum

Japanese Sit-down Comedy to be staged in Manila

The Japan Foundation, Manila and the Ayala Museum present a unique traditional Japanese performance art called "English Rakugo! Japanese Sit-Down Comedy in English" on Friday, September 25, 2009, 7pm at the Lobby of the Ayala Museum, Makati City. Admission is free.
Rakugo is a comic monologue in which a storyteller creates an imaginary drama through episodic narration.  Dating back to the 17th century, rakugo stories are narrated humorously and usually reflect traditional concepts and values which remain meaningful and entertaining today.
The rakugo is somewhat similar to American stand-up comedy wherein there is only one performer onstage doing a comic monologue or acting out a story.  However, rakugo, literally a story with a witty ending, is a "sit-down" comedy where the performer sits atop a small mattress on stage throughout his performance.  Additionally, a rakugo performer wears a traditional Japanese kimono and is usually equipped with a fan and a hand cloth which he skillfully employs to express various situations.
The Japan Foundation, Manila presented rakugo performances in Manila in 2003, 2004 and 2005 that have garnered overwhelmingly positive public response.
Returning to Manila this year is Kaishi Katsura, one of the major English Rakugo performers in Japan.  Although there are some 300 classic rakugo stories handed down through generations, Katsura is one type of performer who prefers to create his own original material. 
Katsura has been a Rakugo performer since 1994 and, like other Rakugo performers, he underwent years of apprenticeship before being deemed worthy of performing the art.  As a traditional Japanese art form, the genre requires training, discipline, and perfection to uphold its quality standards.
This is not Katsura's first time in the Philippines.  He performed in Manila and Cebu in 2003 and 2005.  An international artist, Katsura has done over 180 performances worldwide. In 2007, Katsura was appointed Cultural Exchange Ambassador by the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs.
"English Rakugo!" will also be staged in Cebu on Saturday, September 26, 7:00 pm at the Ayala Center. This performance is organized by the Japanese Consular Office in Cebu, in cooperation with the Japanese Association in Cebu, Inc., the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Cebu, Inc. and the Ayala Center. 
While the event is open to the public, reservations are highly encouraged especially for the Ayala Museum show, as seating is limited.
For September 25 reservations, please call the Japan Foundation, Manila at telephone numbers 811-6155 to 58.
For more information on the event, you may log on to, official media partner of the JFM, or the Japan Foundation, Manila website:

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