Not Going to Buy “Beichô Rakugo Anthology – Updated” 僕は「米朝落語全集 増補改訂版」を買いません

Flyer for "Beichô Rakugo Anthology - Updated"  SôgenshaI’m not going to buy it, but I would happily accept it as a gift.

In October I posted an article titled Katsura Beichô and the Kamigata Rakugo Miracle, in which I shared news about the sudden cancellation of  Horî Ken’ichirô’s book (Kôdansha) with the same title. The sudden cancellation seemed suspicious at the time, but even more so when I learned that the publisher Sôgensha was planning to release in November an updated version of Beichô’s multi-volume rakugo anthology, Beichô rakugo zenshû (1980, 2013). Each volume will cost ¥4,500, or ¥36,000 (plus tax) for all eight volumes.

When I was in Osaka in November, I stopped by the bookstore Junkudô to take a look. Sôgensha has improved the design of the anthology greatly, and having stories in alphabetical order will make looking up stories easier, but it is not clear how many new stories are to be included in the new version of the anthology. Based on the first two volumes that have been released, there will not be many. In the short 11-line preface to the updated version, Beichô points out that the main addition to the anthology is a “collection of rare stories” (chinpinshû) that he did not have in time for the original publication, and some original rakugo he wrote with he was a young man. Since 8 volumes are planned instead of the original seven, it is safe to say there will be about a volume of new material. Telling by the flyer for the anthology, most of the new content will  appear in volume eight.

contents of updated Beichô rakugo zenshû

I recently did some work on the story “The Sneezy Teller of War Tales” (Kusshami kôshaku). The transcriptions published in the 1980 and 2013 versions are exactly the same, and nothing new is added to the 33-year-old commentary (kaisetsu). Illustrations in the book are also the same.

In my opinion, since most material in the first two volumes is simply reproduced, the updated version feels anything but new. One can still find a complete set of the original anthology in used bookstores for less than ¥10,000.

While it is not clear if the release of the updated version of Beichô’s most substantial work had anything to do with the cancellation of Horî Ken’ichirô’s Katsura Beichô and the Kamigata Rakugo Miracle, the nearly simultaneous timing of the cancellation and release of the new Beichô rakugo zenshû causes one to wonder about the politics and economics in the rakugo and publishing worlds.

Beichô rakugo zenshû for sale at Junkudô (Osaka Nanba)僕は買いませんが、プレゼントでしたら喜んでいただきます。

10月に「桂米朝と上方落語の奇蹟」という記事で、堀井憲一郎さんの同題名の著書(講談社)の突然の中止というニュースについて書きました。突然の中止だったので、少々疑わしかったのですが、創元社が11月に「米朝落語全集  増補改訂版  全八巻」(各巻4,500円・全巻36,000円+税)を刊行すると分かったとき、より不思議に思いました。

11月に大阪にいたとき、ジュンク堂に寄って「増補改訂版」を見てみました。重厚なデザインとともに、中身も噺を50音順に配列し、調べやすくなっています。ですが、新しく収録された噺が、何席あるのかはまだ明らかではありません。第一、二巻を見てみると、追加された噺はそんなになさそうです。「増補改訂版」の短い11行の前書きには、米朝師匠 (88) が「初版時には間に合わなかった珍品集や、… 若い時に書いた新作落語の原稿も」含めているとお書きになりました。初版が全七巻、今回の「増補改訂版」が全八巻の予定で、内容的には一巻分が増えると言っていいでしょう。説明書きを読む限り、新しい内容は第八巻に多くありそうです。


個人的な意見ですが、「増補改訂版」一巻、二巻は初版の内容の繰り返しが多いため、内容に新鮮さを全く感じません。ちなみに、あちらこちらの古本屋で「米朝落語全集」の初版 (揃) は1万円も払わずに手に入ります。

上方の根多数が最も多い「米朝落語全集  増補改訂版  全八巻」の刊行が、堀井憲一郎さんの著書「桂米朝と上方落語の奇蹟」の出版中止と関係あるかどうかは何とも言えませんが、「増補改訂版」の刊行のタイミングが出版中止とほぼ同じだったので、落語界と出版界の関係やその中の政治的な動きについて疑問に思われても仕方がないかもしれません。


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