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.

上方落語界は噺の名人を失ってしまいました。

昨年の九月に松喬師匠の闘病について書かせていただきましたが、その後も、松喬師匠は熱心に高座を続けられ、上肝臓癌と闘っていらっしゃいました。残念ながら、6月に再び入院され、7月30日にお亡くなりになられました。松喬師匠は数多くの家族、ファン、そして友人に惜しまれるに違いありません。

7月31日に日刊スポーツが以下のような記事を掲載しました。

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。

最後の高座は6月8、9日に天満天神繁昌亭で行われた松喬一門会。同亭の恩田雅和支配人は「体調は優れなかったのかもしれないが、高座では病気をネタに笑いもとっておられ、普段通りにやられていた」と話した。

松喬さんは69年、戦後の上方落語復興に尽力した故6代目笑福亭松鶴さんに入門。鶴三として初高座にあがり、87年、6代目松喬を襲名した。テレビ、ラジオと、メディアの世界でも活躍する兄弟子、仁鶴、鶴光らに次ぎ、6代目松鶴早期の弟子で、鶴瓶の兄弟子にあたる。

豪放磊落(らいらく)な高座スタイルの一方で、上方言葉に忠実で丁寧な語り口、人情の機微の表現のうまさには定評があり、6代目松鶴一門の中でも、最も、師匠の芸風を継いでいると言われ、07年度の芸術祭賞大賞を受賞した。

還暦記念の落語会を終えた11年12月ごろ、体調不良を感じ「疲れが出たのかもしれない」と病院へ行き、末期の肝臓がんと告知を受けた。すでにがんは6・5センチ大で、手術は不可能と診断され、抗がん剤治療などを受け、12年3月に病状報告会見し、同4月に高座復帰した。

以後は、自分の血液からワクチンを作る成分を抽出する新しいがん免疫療法を受けつつ、高座に上がり続けた。松喬さんは「保険がきかないから働かんとあかんのですわ」とジョークを交えながらも「高座に上がって人を笑わせるのも、笑うのも、一番のええ薬なんです」と話したこともあった。

昨年10月からは、季節ごとに1回、4年で16回公演を目標にした「松喬十六夜」をスタートしたが、6月半中旬に体調が悪化。7月21日の「第四夜」をキャンセルしていた。

通夜は8月1日午後6時、葬儀・告別式は同2日午後1時から、いずれも、大阪市阿倍野区阿倍野筋4の19の115、大阪市立やすらぎ天空館で。喪主は、長男の高田健太(たかだ・けんた)氏。

[2013年7月31日16時4分]

松喬師匠は、「上方の匂いと面白さをわかりやすく、ごく自然なしゃべりで、60代はもうひと花咲かせられたら」とおっしゃいましたが、感激的なフィナーレで、まことに美しい花を咲かせてくださったと僕は思っています。

松喬師匠、おつかれさまでございました。合掌。

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