"Rakugo" comic storyteller Kikuchiyo Kokontei hopes to spend this summer breaking down cultural barriers on both sides of the Korean Peninsula.

Kikuchiyo, one of only two women to ever attain the rank of rakugo master, plans to hold performances in Pyongyang and Seoul, where popular Japanese culture and entertainment have been banned throughout the postwar period.

"Giving people a laugh — that is the aim of a barrier-free rakugo, which transcends damage or national borders," the 44-year-old Tokyo native said.