Filled with Gratitude 感謝の気持ちでいっぱい

It’s been one week since we had our show at Portland State University. I’m still on an incredible high, first because it was so much fun, and second because I was able to realize my dream of  putting on my own rakugo show in the United States.

I have many people to thank for supporting me in this endeavor, but I feel most indebted to Katsura Bunshi V and Hayashiya Somemaru IV, whose shows and styles were the inspiration for this show. Of course, I could never come close to their level of mastery and delivery, but I am tremendously grateful to them for all they taught and showed me.

I told my audience that it felt strange and daunting to go from being an observing apprentice with little of my own actual rakugo performance experience, right into the role of “master.” I was constantly humbled because there is still so much I don’t know. And I gained even more respect for all the professionals who make rakugo their lifelong career. I learned this time, more than ever, that it takes a LOT of work not only to train, but also to produce shows.

We had about 150 people in the audience last night. It was incredibly rewarding to teach people in the community about rakugo and yose. It also felt wonderful to be able to make people laugh. And when I didn’t get the laughs I was hoping for, I learned something from that, too. All this made much clearer to me what pro hanashika go through on a day-to-day basis.

My students made me very proud. They worked very hard to learn their rakugo or iromono (other variety acts), not to mention all the hayashi instruments in less than three weeks. One talented student even mastered two songs on shamisen so that I too could have live debayashi (entrance music).¹

It would seem that everybody involved in putting on the show, and those in attendance, had a great time. This makes me happier than I can say. And it looks like I will have another chance to produce a rakugo show at Portland State next spring, on May 24. I will continue studying and will work hard to make it an even better show.







¹During our music training we referred to Hayashiya Somemaru IV’s Kamigata rakugo yosebayashi no sekai, which comes complete with CDs and sheet music.  三味線と寄席囃子のお稽古ですが、染丸師匠の「上方落語寄席囃子の世界」を参考に使わせていただきました。


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