The UP Asian Center, together with the Embassy of Japan, the UP Center for International Studies, and will host the theater production, “Rakugo in English” on 23 November 2023, Thursday, 6:00 PM (GMT+8) at the GT-Toyota Auditorium, Asian Center, Diliman. The event is free and open to the public.
ABOUT THE PERFORMANCE
In celebration of the 50th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation, the Embassy of Japan, in partnership with the Asian Center, Center for International Studies, and the English Rakugo Association, brings Rakugo to UP Diliman.
This production will be part of the month-long anniversary celebration of the Asian Center. Viewing is FREE for the public on a first-come-first-served basis.
WHAT IS RAKUGO?
Rakugo is an art of traditional Japanese entertainment of storytelling that has been enjoyed for more than 400 years. Dressed in a Kimono and kneeling on a cushion on a stage, a solo performer tells stories that depict the everyday lives of ordinary citizens. As a form of a humorous narrative monologue, what makes Rakugo unique is that it consists mainly of dialogues. By changing the pitch and the tone of the voice and turning the head, the performer depicts multiple characters and acts out different scenes. Unlike Kabuki and Noh, which require elaborate stage settings and costumes, the Rakugo stage is very simple, and only a traditional folding fan and a small hand towel are used as props. The performer uses them for various actions such as eating soba noodles, writing letters, paying coins, smoking a pipe, and so on.
Hundreds of stories were created, many of which have been passed down to the present generations of performers. The subjects of the stories are not heroes but common people, and the material is based on warm-hearted human drama, which is often absurd but familiar in any society exceeding borders and time. There are three types of stories: funny, emotional, and ghost stories, which often end with a punch line.
There are some rules about Rakugo performances. Knowing them helps you enjoy the story more. The performer enters the stage accompanied by the sound of shamisen. When acting, the performer alternates the direction of the face as they talk to a different person. In most scenes, stage left is regarded as inside of a house, so characters enter the house from stage right. An imaginary senior character usually sits at stage left, and a young sits at stage right. But please do not be bothered to remember the rules. You will know what’s going on immediately once the story starts.
• KANARIYA ICHIRIN (Uehara Masako)
• KANARIYA KAPPA (Terada Takuro)
• KANARIYA PANDA (Nagashima Noriko)
Tamasudare is a kind of traditional Japanese street performance. A performer manipulates a unique screen made of loosely knotted bamboo sticks to create various shapes while chanting songs.
Hauta songs are popular short songs in the Edo period of Japan, from the 17th to the mid-19th century, usually accompanied by a Shamisen, a three-string musical instrument.
ABOUT THE ORGANIZERS
The event is organized by the UP Asian Center, the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines, the UP Center for International Studies, and the English Rakugo Association.
The Asian Center, University of the Philippines Diliman offers M.A. degrees in Asian Studies with four fields of specialization: Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and West Asia. The UP Asian Center also has an M.A. program in Philippine Studies that allows students to major in Philippine society and culture, Philippine foreign relations, or Philippine development studies. It also offers a Ph.D. program in Philippine Studies in conjunction with the College of Arts and Letters and the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy. For an overview of these graduate programs, click here. As an area studies institution, the Asian Center also publishes Asian Studies: Journal of Critical Perspectives on Asia, the latest issue of which can be downloaded at the journal's website. For other news and upcoming events at the Asian Center, click here.