Somemaru Shishô 染丸師匠

I was busy all October, making some nice progress on my dissertation. I apologize for my prolonged silence.

About a week ago, I received some wonderful news from Somemaru, but he asked me not to tell anybody about it until November 3. Last night, as I got ready to share this great news, I searched the Japanese Internet for news stories about it.

What I found instead sent me into a state of shock: “Stroke Hospitalizes Hayashiya Somemaru for One to Two Weeks.” I couldn’t believe it, but there were at least ten other online articles and numerous Tweets to confirm the terrible news. My next question was, is Shishô okay?

I have since gotten in touch with people close to Somemaru, and Somemaru himself. His pupil Someya put my mind at ease by saying, “Shishô is fine. He’s in high spirits. He’s been moved into his own room, so if you send him email he’ll be able to read it.” I did send email and Somemaru thanked me for it and added, “I’m feeling pretty good. Tomorrow I start full-scale rehabilitation.”

According to Someya, Somemaru’s stoke “was rather mild. There will be no aftereffects that keep him from being a hanashika. He’s already talking the same as before, he’s laughing, he’s joking, sending emails. He even said he was craving udon [noodles]!'”

While this was sad news, I could not be more relieved that Somemaru is okay. I hope that his rehabilitation will be a swift one, and that we can all see him smiling on stage in the near future.

Now, for that good news I have been looking forward to sharing.

As can be seen on my Somemaru師匠 page, Somemaru has received numerous awards for his skills as a hanashika, and for his contributions to the art. He has recently been selected to receive another prestigious award, the Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon (Shijû hôshô) from the Government of Japan, in the name of the Emperor.

Medals of Honor are intended to recognize people deemed meritorious, and deserving of national honor for contributions to public society. These awards are issued to a select group each spring and autumn, and are widely reported in the press. First awarded in 1955, the Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon is given to individuals with remarkable accomplishments in and contributions toward academia and the arts, their development, and improvement.

The announcement that Somemaru will be awarded the Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon is further testament to his important role in the Kamigata rakugo world.

Shishô, congratulations!!













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