Kabuki at Colorado College コロラドカレッジの歌舞伎

The Medicine Peddler, directed by Laurence KominzI have been in a city called Colorado Springs since the end of January. I am here to assist with a production of the kabuki play The Medicine Peddler (Uirô uri) at Colorado College. My role is music director. I am also playing shamisen and singing ozatsuma in the show.

Colorado College students have been a great pleasure to work with. They are remarkably talented and are fast learners. I am working especially closely with four students who–in addition to playing important acting roles in the show–will provide the live music for the production. They will play key instruments such as bell, flute, drums, wooden clappers, etc. They have been doing a terrific job in rehearsals and will be sure to wow audiences at our upcoming shows on February 8, 9, and 1o.

In addition to kabuki, there will be other presentations on the program such as buyô dances, a tribute to Ichikawa Danjûrô XII (1946-2013) by Dr. Laurence Kominz, and rakugo by yours truly. If you can make it to Colorado Springs, please come to the show! The students will surely be enjoyable to watch!

If you cannot make it to Colorado College for the show, please watch the Monday show live(!) online at: http://www.coloradocollege.edu/live.

Show dates and times (Mountain Standard Time)

Saturday, February 8, 2014, 7 p.m.-9 p.m.

Sunday, February 9, 2014, 2 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

Monday, February 10, 2014, 1 p.m.-3 p.m. (STREAMED LIVE, MST)


Richard F. Celeste Theatre
Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave. (map)


FREE and suitable for ALL AGES!

See you there!

The Medicine Peddler, directed by Laurence Kominz (2)1月末からコロラド州のコロラド・スプリングズという町に来ております。ここにコロラドカレッジという大学があって、英語歌舞伎の「外郎売り」の演出を手伝わせていただいています。僕が囃子音楽(鳴り物)を学生さんに教え、三味線と大薩摩もさせていただいています。



コロラドカレッジまで来れない方は、月曜日の公演はライブストリーミング放送で見えるので、ぜひご覧くださいませ。リンクはこちらです。→ http://www.coloradocollege.edu/live.

ショーの日にちと時間 (アメリカの山地時、MST)



2月10日(月)13時〜15時(ライブストリーミング放送、日本時間 11日(火)の午前5時


Richard F. Celeste Theatre
Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave. (地図)





Waseda Yose わせだ寄席

83rd Waseda YoseYesterday I went to listen to rakugo at the 83rd Waseda Yose.

According to the Waseda University Rakugo Research Club’s (Waseda daigaku rakugo kenkyû kai) official homepage, the club has hosted one to two professional rakugo shows a year since 1954, in hopes of sharing the fun of rakugo with students. Originally called the Rakugo Kenkyû Kai, the show was later renamed Waseda Yose.

83rd Waseda Yose lineup

I could see that the Waseda Yose is a full-fledged yose program, and seats at the 83rd show were just about packed. There were four rakugo performances and one iromono act. The entire program was entertaining, but the best of all was Katsura Nankyô’s (a rakugo veteran of 50 years) telling of the story “Belly Drum” (Taiko bara).

Wonderful show, everyone!





Hayashiya Someya to Become Kikumaru III 林家染弥が三代目菊丸に

Today I read some fabulous news on the news site Mainichi JP. Somemaru’s number 6 pupil will be promoted to the illustrious name Hayashiya Kikumaru. The following is my translation of the story.

Rakugo — Someya to Receive the Name Hayashiya Kikumaru III: A Big Name from the Meiji Period is Resurrected

Mainichi Newspaper,  September 28, 2013  –  5:00 a.m.

Yoshimoto Creative Agency announced on the 27th that Hayashiya Somemaru school rakugoka Hayashi Someya (39) will be promoted to the name Hayashiya Kikumaru III next September. Kikumaru is an illustrious name in Somemaru’s artistic family line. The last Kikumaru was a popular storyteller in the Meiji period. According to entertainment history scholar Maeda Kenji, it appears that he died around 1900. This will be the first time the name has been used in 115 years.

Someya is from Mie Prefecture and joined Somemaru’s school in 1994. This year, he received the Art Encouragement Award at the Osaka Cultural Festival. Someya stated that, “Next year is my twentieth year since joining Somemaru’s school. I am looking at this year as my rakugo coming of age ceremony (rakugoka toshite no seijin shiki), so I will do my best to grow into this great name.”

Somemaru, who has been undergoing treatment and rehabilitation for a cerebral infarction since June, also attended the press conference and stated, “I want to work hard to get better in time for the name ascension. About Someya, he said, “he’s learned how present classic stories (koten rakugo) in a contemporary fashion, and he has a good character. He’s going to be taking a big name; I hope he lives up to it.”

The first Kikumaru brought recognition to the Hayashiya name in Kamigata at the end of the Edo period (1600-1868), and his biological son became the second Kikumaru. Kikumaru I is thought to have composed the rakugo classics Horikawa and Fudôbô, among others.


Previous posts on Kikumaru and Someya.


落語:三代目林家菊丸 染弥さん襲名へ 明治の大看板復活

毎日新聞 2013年09月28日 05時00分







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。