Shôfukutei Shokyô, R.I.P. 松喬師匠、おつかれさまでございました。(合掌)

Shôfukutei Shokaku VI, property of Asahi News Kamigata rakugo has lost one of its great storytellers.

Last September I wrote about Shôfukutei Shokyô VI’s inspiring battle against cancer. Since then Shokyô has taken liver cancer head on by continuing to perform rakugo. This June, however, he returned to the hospital and, sadly, he passed away on July 30. He will be missed by countless family, fans and friends.

Nikkan Sports ran the following article on July 31.

Shôfukutei Shokyô Dies of Liver Cancer, Age 62  (reported July 31, 2013, 4:04 p.m.)

Though Kamigata Rakugo storyteller Shôfukutei Shokyô (real name Takada Toshinobu) was diagnosed with end-stage liver cancer in December two years ago, he continued performing as he underwent treatment. He passed away at 4:30 p.m. on July 30 at the age of 62.

His final appearances were on June 8 and 9 at the Tenman Tenjin Hanjôtei, for the Shokyô artistic school showcase (Shokyô ichimon kai). Hanjôtei manager Onda Masakazu commented, “His physical condition might not have been that great, but, it was business as usual onstage. He got laughs by weaving his disease into jokes.” 

Shokyô entered an apprenticeship in 1969 with Shôfukutei Shokaku VI, who was instrumental in the revitalization of Kamigata rakugo during the post-WWII era. Shokyô first performed with the name Kakuza, and in 1987 he received the name Shokyô VI . In Shokaku VI’s school he was junior to Nikaku and Tsurukô, and senior to Tsurubei, all who have played active roles in T.V., radio, and other media. 

Shokyô had a reputation for his unaffected, openhearted style on stage, his faithful adherence to Kamigata dialect and polite speech, and being talented at expressing the subtleties of human nature. Called the hanashika who best carried on the artistic style of Shokaku VI, he received the Arts Festival Grand Prize [from the Japanese Agency of Cultural Affairs] in 2007.

In December of 2011, following a show commemorating his sixtieth birthday, he was feeling unwell and went to the hospital thinking, “maybe it’s fatigue.” It was there that he received notice that he had end-stage liver cancer. The cancer was approximately 6.5 centimeters, and surgery would be impossible. He received chemotherapy, and announced his condition at a press conference in March 2012. By April, he was back on stage.

Thereafter, he continued performing while receiving a new cancer immunotherapy to extract the components to make a vaccine from his own blood. Shokyô even joked, “Insurance won’t cover it, so I gotta keep working,” adding that “making people laugh, and laughing myself, is the best medicine.” 

Last October, Shokyô set a goal to complete a four-year, 16-show seasonal showcase called “Sixteen Nights of Shokyô” (Shokyô jûrokuya). He launched the series, but by mid-June his health began deteriorating. He had to cancel “The Fourth Night,” scheduled for July 21. 

A wake in Shokyô’s honor will be held  at 6:00 p.m on August 1. A funeral and memorial service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on August 2. All services will be held at the Osaka City Yasuragi Tenkûkan (Osaka-shi Abeno-ku Abeno-suji 4-19-115). Shokyô’s oldest son, Takada Kenta, will be representing the family as chief mourner.

Shokyô once said, “I would like to present the fragrance (nioi) and fun of Kamigata in an easy-to-follow manner, and let my speech flow naturally. I hope to bring forth a new flower during my 60s.” Considering his inspiring finalé, he did just this. He brought forth a truly beautiful flower.

Shokyô-shishô, rest in peace. Gasshô.




笑福亭松喬さんが肝臓がんで死去 62歳

Shôfukutei Shokyô, property of Nikkan Sports一昨年12月、末期肝臓がんの告知を受け、闘病しながらも高座に上がり続けた上方落語家、笑福亭松喬(しょうふくてい・しょきょう=本名・高田敏信)さんが30日午後4時30分、大阪市西区の病院で死去した。62歳だった。












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