Consulate General of Japan to Host Two Free Performances of English Rakugo
Japanese Comic Storytelling with Katsura Sunshine
Monday, September 16, 2013
- Kennesaw State University (KSU)
1000 Chastain Road, Kennesaw GA 30144
A map of the KSU campus can be found here.
RSVP is required and can be made by calling 770-423-6650
- Woodruff Arts Center
1280 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, GA 30309
Seating is first-come first-served
Click Here to see the event poster.
Parking and Directions
For more information on these shows contact the Consulate at 404-240-4300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Consulate General of Japan in Atlanta is pleased to welcome Katsura Sunshine, a professional Rakugo storyteller, to the Atlanta area for two free performances open to the public. Mr. Sunshine is originally from Toronto, Canada, but has lived in Japan for over a decade studying the traditional comic storytelling art of Rakugo.
Rakugo is a 400-year-old tradition of comic storytelling in Japan. A minimalistic performance art, Rakugo features a lone storyteller dressed in kimono, kneeling on a cushion, who, using only a fan and a hand towel for props, entertains the audience with a comic monologue followed by a traditional story. The storyteller differentiates characters in conversation by moving his head from left to right, as well as with subtle changes in tempo, posture, intonation, etc. Rakugo is an ancient art form, but it is still very much alive and well, with over 700 professional storytellers practicing today in the two main traditions of storytelling, that of Tokyo (Edo) and that of Osaka (Kamigata).
Sunshine was born in Toronto, Ontario, to parents of Slovenian origin. He studied classics at the University of Toronto, where he got his first introduction to the works of the Ancient Greek comic playwright, Aristophanes, under the renowned scholar of ancient comedy, Eric Csapo. He became involved in translating, adapting, and performing in versions of Aristophanes’ comedies for the Department of Classics.
In September, 1995, his version of Aristophanes’ “Clouds” opened at the Poor Alex Theatre in Toronto, and, buoyed by almost universally positive reviews, ran for 15 months before embarking on a tour of central and eastern Canada.
On September 1st , 2008, Sunshine was accepted as an apprentice to the great Rakugo storytelling master, Katsura Bunshi VI (then named Katsura Sanshi), and subsequently received the name Katsura Sunshine. In the Rakugo tradition, he received both his master’s last name and part of the first (his master, Sanshi combined the first part of his name, “San”, meaning “Three”, with the Japanese word for “Shine”, and gave it the Japanese pronunciation of the English word “Sunshine”).
Sunshine received his professional debut in Singapore the following year, and completed his three-year Rakugo apprenticeship in November, 2012.
Sunshine is the first ever Western Rakugo storyteller in the history of the “Kamigata” Rakugo tradition, based in Osaka, and only the second ever in the history of Japan. (The first was Australian Kairakutei Black (1858-1923), who performed in the Edo tradition, based in Tokyo.
Sunshine has performed in Singapore, the United States and Canada, as well as throughout Japan. He currently resides in Ise City, Mie Prefecture, Japan. In July, 2012, he opened his own Rakugo Theatre in his home in Ise, called the Ise Kawasaki Kikitei, where he regularly performs Rakugo stories.
Sunshine currently appears regularly on three television programs in Japan, and has been the subject of several short documentaries made for television news.