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« Temple Distinguished Lecture Series, September 17th | Main | Back to School 2016, thank you »

Rakugo: A Discourse Analysis of Japanese Traditional Comic Storytelling

Date and Time: Saturday, 9 July 2016 - 2:00pm - 5:00pm

Chiho Kitagawa

Rakugo is a Japanese form of minimalistic comedic performance, which has been passed down from master to apprentice through the generations for more than 300 years. This presentation will bring to light some pertinent points of language use that are particular to Rakugo, and will analyze and explain them. It is the speaker’s belief that the special linguistic features of Rakugo are related to and strongly influenced by the restrictions posed by the genre--the storyteller performs alone; there is no set or costume to indicate place or character; he uses only a fan and hand towel for props to represent various objects; and he speaks while kneeling on a cushion. All of the storyteller’s energies, and all of the rules, techniques and traditional ways of doing things in Rakugo, are focused on one single aim: to bring the audience fully into the fictional world being created and making them enjoy it. This presentation will present examples of how the genre’s restrictions, as well as the storyteller’s relationship to the audience, influence the Rakugo storyteller’s use of language.

Language: JAPANESE (Q & A in English and Japanese)

Nishinomiya Daigaku Koryu Center (ACTA East Tower 6F, Room 2) is two minutes from Hankyu Nishinomiya Kitaguchi station.

We will have a meal after the session at a nearby restaurant. Reservations for dinner required by Tuesday, July 5. Contact fujimotodonna AT

Chiho Kitagawa (Ph.D.) is a part-time lecturer at Kobe City University of Foreign Studies, Kobe University, and Osaka Shoin Women’s University. Her research theme is discourse analysis of Rakugo. She has taught “Rakugo in English” in several universities, and she has taught with professional Rakugo performers since 2007. She is also deeply involved in producing events introducing Japanese culture in countries around the world. With Rakugo storyteller, Katsura Sunshine, she has visited 13 countries, including four countries in Africa in 2015. Her translations of Rakugo into English have appeared widely, including the subtitles of the 10-DVD set of Rakugo Master Katsura Bunchin's Rakugo series at the Imperial Theatre, Tokyo, in 2010.

Nishinomiya Daigaku Koryu Center (ACTA East Tower 6F, Room 2)
Fee for JALT members: 
Free for JALT and SIETAR members and students
Fee for one-day members: 
500 yen
Contact or Queries: 
Email contact form

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