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Rakugo Workshop in English

A Rakugo workshop was held at USM’s School of Languages, Literacies and Translation, on 15 October 2010. Mr. Utazo Katsura, a professional comic storyteller from Japan, was dispatched by the Japan Foundation in order to promote Japanese culture abroad. Mr. Katsura performed in Kuala Lumpur and Penang in Malaysia.

Rakugo is a traditional Japanese comedy monodrama which originated since the 16th century. The storyteller (Rakugo-ka) acts out the whole story himself by creating an imaginary drama with his skillful use of vocal and facial expressions to portray various characters. The performer dressed in a plain kimono marks his appearance with a musical accompaniment. He then goes over to the center stage (Tatami) and sits on the cushion in front of his audience to start the performance which is known as the Japanese sit-down comedy where the performer sits on his knees when he performs.

Mr. Katsura performed two stories in English which are “Time Noodle” (Toki-soba) and “Gonsuke’s Fish” (Gonsuke-zakana). He also performed some short jokes before telling the main ones.

The students enjoyed his performance very much and he was given a loud applause for his performance. There was also a question and answer session with the audience at the end of the workshop.

Mr. Katsura also performed the traditional Rakugo in Japanese at the Penang Japanese School later during that day.