"Rakugo"  Comic storytelling


 One day all of a sudden, a cherry tree grew up from the top of a man’s head. It seemed because he had eaten a lot of cherries with pips.
 Soon gorgeous blossoms bloomed on the tree and became popular with people.
 Then, a lot of people came up on the top of his head and had a booze looking at the beautiful blossoms. People came everyday to have a booze.
 Quite noisy for him, the boss.

 He got so angry that he uprooted the cherry tree and got a big hole on his head where the cherry tree had rooted
 In time, rainwater collected in the hole and the hole became a pond.
A lot of people started gathering around the pond on his head to fish because the pond was crawling with carp and crucians.

 At night some people even chartered boats to catch fish in their nets.
 The man who had the pond on his head had come not to be able to swallow their behaviors at last.
 Eventually he commited suicide by throwing himself into the pond turning a somersault.

 It’s the outline of a “Rakugo” titled “Atamayama”, that means, the mountain on his head. One of around 600 classical “Rakugo” stories.

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(click the picture)

 Why then,
 Do you know of “Rakugo”?
 It means comic storytelling. One of Japanese traditional entertainments like “Kabuki”,”Nou”,”Bunraku” and so on. A comic storyteller is called as “Rakugoka”.

 In “Rakugo” performance,a “Rakugoka” shows up on stage alone wearing Japanese traditional clothes called as “Kimono”.Tells a comic story sitting on a Japanese cushion(above).

 The worth of “Rakugoka”s is desided only with the skill of using “Ma”,that is, the timing of telling descriptions prorerly.If they lose “Ma”,they cannot get any laugh while they are talking.

 The most important skill for “Rakugoka” is how to use “Ma”,which means appropriate timing for telling funny descriptions.If they don’t have the skill for “Ma”,they cannot amuse audience definitely.

 At least 15 years are supposed to be required for becoming a full-fledged “Rakugoka”.It’s because of acquiring only the skill for “Ma”,I suppose.

 In the other countries, probably there isn’t any similar entertainment to Japanese “Rakugo”.
 If forcibly I look for similar entertainments to it in foreign countries,I could cite a monologue in the U.S. or so. But “Rakugo” is far more sophisticated than it.
Probably people who don’t speak Japanese cannot make out this subtle point.
 It’s really a pity for me.

 “Rakugo” is supposed to have been born around 400 years ago.
 Anrakuan Sakuden(1554-1642) is certified as the beginner. He was a companion and staff officer for Toyotomi Hideyoshi(1537-1598) who was the ruler of Japan at that time and has been a big figure in Japanese history.

 Accorging to the reports of the associations of “Rakugoka”s (comic storytellers), there are about 600 “Rakugoka”s in Japan.
400 in Tokyo and 200 in Kansai area including Osaka,Kyoto.

(click the picture)

 In order to become comic storytellers, they become pupils of the comic storytellers qualified as “Shin-uchi” which is the title for “Rakugoka” as established.

 In ordinary cases, after working as “Zenza” for 3 or 4 years taking care of their masters studying how to tell comic stories, they would be qualified as “Futatsume”.And after working as “Futatsume” for around 10 years telling comic stories on stage or so and studying,they would become qualified as “Shin-uti”.

 “Rakugo” is told at comic monologue theaters called as “Yose" in Tokyo. There are 4 “Yose”s which are situated at Ueno, Shinjuku, Asakusa,and Ikebukuro.
 Capacity is from 90 to 300.
 Admission costs 2500-2700yen.You can enjoy “Yose” performance from 12:00 pm to 9:00 pm except the “Yose” at Ueno.

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 The first “Yose” was opened at Tokyo in 1798 and the number of “Yose”s became about 200 in 19th century.It was the peak.

 Earnings of “Rakugoka”s are told to be low except popular ones who have a lot of jobs in Japan.
 It seemingly depends on the unique way of payment in “Yose”s.That is,50 per cent of the income for a performance is taken by a “Yose” theater owner.And performers who have performed on the stage should take the remaining 50 per cent dividing it.
 The number of tellers for a performance would be less than 30.
 That’s the reason of their low income.

posted by Jiraux at 14:41 | Comment(3) | TrackBack(0) | essay: Seize Japan
今日は よろしくお願いしますね^^すごいですね^^
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