1. Education

Let's Learn Hiragana 
with Japanese Culture

  Rakugo

Rakugo is comic storytelling, mainly in the form of dialogues. It was developed in the Edo period (1603-1867), and was performed in entertainment halls called yose. It is customary to include a punch line called ochi at the end of the story. Since a performer plays several characters in a story, the use of facial expressions and pantomimes is essential to capture the audience's imagination. 

The storytellers (rakugoka) are ranked according to their skill and experience. A beginner is referred to as a zenza and performs at the beginning of the program. A rakugo master, shin-uchi, is the last to perform. Shin-uchi literally means, "one of true value" or "one who strikes the heart". The name came because of his true worth as a storyteller to move the hearts of the audience. 

The Rakugoka wear kimonos and sit on a cushion (zabuton) in the middle of the stage. There are no scenery or props except a hand towel (tenugui) and a fan (sensu). The towel is used to represent books, bills or a wallet. The fan can be chopsticks, pipe, swords, cigarettes, or pen. 

Let's Write it in Kanji!

Previous Lesson     Next Lesson

Culture Lesson Archives

Subscribe to the Newsletter
Name
Email

You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.