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TOKYO

Rakugo comic Katsura: a stand-up guy doing a sit-down job

by Henry Wong

Have you ever heard the one about the samurai and the monk? Chances are if you’ve heard rakugo before, you have.

Rakugo is a style of old Japanese comedy and the Rakugo Cafe in Tokyo’s Kanda district will be presenting an English performance by the renowned rakugo artist Asakichi Katsura on Jan. 16.

Katsura, no stranger to English rakugo, has performed his bilingual take on the traditional Japanese art form while touring in Australia.

Rakugo became popular during the Edo Period (1603-1867). The comedian sits on a cushion in front of the audience and tells a story using only a sensu (folding paper fan) and a tenugui (small cloth) as props to help convey the story. The performance culminates with a final narrative that delivers the punch line of the story.

Asakichi Katsura will be performing at the Rakugo Cafe near Jinbo-cho Station in Tokyo on Jan. 16. Tickets cost ¥2,200 (¥2,000 in advance). For more information, contact rakugo@hotmail.co.jp or call (03) 6268-9818 weekdays from 12 noon to 6 p.m.