BeeOasis Step 3
Rakugo is a form of Japanese comedy. In rakugo, a storyteller sits on a stage. The stage is simple. The storyteller has a Japanese fan and a small cloth. And he or she performs conversations between people. In the art of rakugo, these conversations come alive with characters and humor.
In the west, comedians stand on stage and talk. This is called stand-up comedy. But rakugo artists sit on the stage on their knees. Kimie Oshima, from Bunkyo Gakuin University, says rakgugo is “sit-down” comedy. According to Oshima, rakugo is unique to Japan. And it has a history of more than 300 years.
A key part of rakugo is the point, or punch-line. There are two Japanese words for punch-line. “OCHI” means “fall,” and “SAGE,” means “lowering.” A good rakugo artist delivers a punch-line with skill and timing. And this brings a surprise to the conversation. There are about 300 classic rakugo stories that follow a pattern. New stories follow this pattern too. In this way, new and old stories stay within the tradition.
Rakugo shows us the culture of Japanese comedy. It gives us the humor of daily life through Japanese conversation. But humor is universal. And you can enjoy rakugo in English too. There are many rakugo performances on Youtube. And some of them are funny. Many people think Japan is a very serious place. But by watching rakugo, you can see the funny side of Japanese culture and humor too.