Regional Yose and Massage 地方寄席とマッサージ

Today Somemaru had a show in Habikino (SE Osaka) with a few of his pupils. There are several yose in Tokyo that are dedicated to rakugo almost every day of the year, but, as I mentioned in a previous blog, Osaka has only one yose, the Hanjôtei. For more than 60 years following the end of WWII, it was up to hanashika to find their own venues at which to build fan bases and practice their art. These venues were often found outside of Osaka city. These so-called “yose,” because they were most often outside of the city, were called chiiki yose or chihô yose (regional or provincial yose, respectively). Perhaps because their is only one yose, or more likely because there is popular demand, regional yose continue to play a huge part in the livelihoods of contemporary Osaka hanashika. Today’s show, called the Rikkupuchi yose, was the 28th at this venue. Tickets generally go for very cheap at regional yose. The cost to get into today’s show cost ¥1,000 in advance, or ¥1,200 at the door (less than $10 US).

This is a picture of the kendai (short podium, on which you see small kibyôshi [wooden clappers]) used at today’s show. In the rakugo world, the kendai is only used in Kamigata Rakugo, and only for certain stories. The kendai, as far as I know, is an import from other traditional narrative arts, such as Buddhist sermons (sekkyô), and non-comical storytelling arts (e.g., kôdan and kôshaku). Kendai, though usually lacquered and elaborately decorated, are also used by chanters (gidayû) in Japan’s traditional puppet theater, Bunraku (also called ningyô jôruri), which is strictly an Osaka art.

After we got home and had dinner, Somemaru, tired from a busy January schedule filled with shows, lessons for students, and finishing his book–in bookstores this April, called me for a massage. I’m happy that I can help relieve his exhaustion, and return something for all he’s done for me. Somemaru shishô, you can call on me any time!





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