Japanese Rakugo Storytelling at Harvard


Wednesday, February 8, 2017, 4:30pm to 6:00pm


Tsai Auditorium (S010), Japan Friends of Harvard Concourse, CGIS South Building, 1730 Cambridge St

Presented by: Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard University​​​​​​​
Admission: This event is free and open to the public. Performance is in Japanese with English translations.
​​​​​​​More information​​​​​​​

Featuring YANAGIYA Sankyo and YANAGIYA Kyonosuke
Moderated by Wesley Jacobsen, Professor of the Practice of the Japanese Language and Director, Japanese Language Program, Harvard University

Rakugo is a 400-year-old tradition of storytelling in Japan. Literally “fallen words,” rakugo consists of a brief personal anecdote followed by a longer narrative, ultimately dropping a humorous punchline. Given only a bare stage, a paper fan and small towel for props, and a cushion to kneel on, the performer (rakugoka) single-handedly engages the audience in the comedic tale with a variety of distinctive characters, expressive gestures, and clever wordplay.

Born in 1948, YANAGIYA Sankyo became an apprentice to Yanagiya Kosan V in 1967 and received a shin'uchi rank (highest professional rank) in 1981. He is a veteran rakugo performer who can portray the subtle emotions of a character during a performance. He is currently a board member of the Association of Rakugo Performers. YANAGIYA Kyonosuke was born in 1971 and became an apprentice to Sankyo in 1993. He received a shin'uchi rank in 2007.