Born in Britain, Diane Kichijitsu has always had a passion for traveling and storytelling. She first came to Japan as a backpacker. After falling in love with the culture, she studied for teacher’s licenses in flower arranging and the tea ceremony, before being introduced to the world of rakugo and kimono dressing. The bilingual artist has gone on to perform rakugo in more than 30 countries.

1. First, what exactly is rakugo? It’s the traditional Japanese art of comic storytelling, originating in the early part of the Edo Period (1603-1868). The performer plays all the characters in the story while kneeling on a cushion, using only a paper fan and a tenugui (a kind of cloth handkerchief) as props.

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