To Master’s House 師匠のお宅へ

Front door at Somemaru'sThe most important part of this short trip to Osaka is to pay a visit to master Somemaru.

He had time yesterday, so I went to see him at his house. It was wonderful to see him in person, to see him smile and laugh. We talked about many things rakugo-related and not, and he gave me advice on a lot of matters.

Around 5pm he asked me to pull his car around, then we drove to the supermarket. We selected ingredients for nabe (hotpot), then headed home. Just like old times, we prepared dinner together.

Someya arrived just in time for dinner. The three of us talked about a lot and enjoyed many laughs while eating. Somemaru and Someya shared some of their views on performing rakugo, in fact said some things that made me change the way I look at the art, reconsider the way I will approach it as an amateur performer in the future.

Toward the end of dinner, the conversation moved to the topic of Someya’s momentous name change (shûmei) to Hayashiya Kikumaru III next September. He asked Somemaru for advice on a number of matters, and I was able to see that shûmei are not simply ceremonies that people attend.

There is so much to think about and prepare, the simplest of matters perhaps being selecting a design for one’s new tenugui (hand towel), of which hundreds are made and given as formal gifts to other professionals and fans.

Somemaru and Someya looking at tenuguiLast night we spent a good deal of time looking through traditional tenugui pattern books and at actual tenugui, of which Somemaru has an impressive collection. Someya did not make a final decision, but said he would like to keep his new design simple and perhaps include a traditional tenugui chrysanthemum design if he can find one–this would represent the Kiku part of his new name. Nice!

Speaking of tenugui, Someya was very kind to present me with one of his own Hayashiya Someya tenugui, which are quickly becoming a rare item. He also gave me a nice brochure about his shûmei, which Yoshimoto prepared for distribution at a recent press conference.

We topped off the evening with tea and ice cream. Someya and I bowed to Somemaru and thanked him for dinner and everything else, then we were on our way. We took the same train toward Umeda then later said our goodbyes.

Shortly thereafter, I reached into my coat pocket to get some eye drops, and what did I find? Somemaru’s CAR KEY! WHAT!! I forgot to return it after driving to the supermarket. I gasped and looked at my watch, but it was too late in the evening to return to Somemaru’s.

So, this morning I made another trip to Somemaru’s house to return his car key and sheepishly apologize. When Somemaru saw me he smiled and said, “Okay, no worries.” I guess my thick-headed mistake gave me another opportunity to thank him for such nice day yesterday.





食事も終わりに近づいた頃、来年9月の「染弥改メ 三代目林家菊丸」の襲名についてのお話になりました。襲名は、お客さまに披露するためであるのはもちろん、そのためにさまざまな準備があるということがわかりました。








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







Yobikomi, Memorable Show 呼び込み、記憶に残る会

On Somemaru’s request,  I went early tonight to the Hanjôtei to help with yobikomi, which is pre-show assembly of numerous flyers to be inserted into the show’s program. Considering the quality of most flyers, and the sheer number thereof, it becomes clear that having these produced is a major expense for hanashika. It is also an important and, I assume, effective way to advertise. While professionals are typically hired to print the flyers, it is generally the job of lower-level hanashika to work in the flyer assembly line.

Tonight’s “Rakugo Show to Honor Hayashiya Ancestors” was fabulous. It was wonderful to hear all the stories, especially those not usually told. These stories, most filled with hamemono (music and musical sound effects), are obviously important stories for the Hayashiya family, but they are important for the Kamigata repertoire in general. I hope all the stories told tonight continue to be performed on a regular basis.

Here is a blurb from the night’s program, written by Somemaru:

I would like to extend to all my midsummer greetings.

Our ancestors were, and therefore we… This may be given, but the details concerning our ancestors are not always clear. There are a number of riddles surrounding Hayashiya ancestors, and these make them quite mysterious. There are books that identify Tamaran and Ranmaru as two of our forefathers, but there is no actual proof of this. While these hanashika lived only a hundred and fifty years ago, in the same era as Sakamoto Ryôma, there is nothing we can hold that verifies their existence. It may be the nature of hanashika that requires their histories to accompany them to the grave. Still, Ranmaru and [others such as] Kikumaru transmitted story masterpieces and legends, and these are most valuable assets, the great pride of we who draw from their stream.

Please make yourself at home tonight.

Hayashiya Somemaru IV






今宵はごゆるりとお過ごしくださいませ。(四代目  林家染丸)

Rakugo Show Honoring Hayashiya Ancestors 林家のご先祖様の落語会

A historic rakugo show honoring ancestors of the Hayashiya family will be held tomorrow at the Hanjôtei yose at 6:30pm (doors open at 6:00). Somemaru, a few of his pupils (Someji, Hanamaru, and Someya), and Katsura Akashi will be performing a set of stories that were composed by past members of the Hayashiya rakugo line. Some of the stories have not been performed for decades, so this show will be a revival of sorts. If you have time tomorrow night you should really come and be a part of Kamigata rakugo history. There are just a few tickets left, and you can get them by calling the Rinseikai (Somemaru’s official fan club) offices at 06-6355-4659; the Hanjôtei box office at 06-6352-4874, or Ticket Pia at 0570-02-9999 (P-code: 597-700, also available at Circle K, Sankus, and 7-11 stores). I will be at the show (of course), so see you there!

明日の夜、6:30(6時開場)より、歴史的な「林家のご先祖様の落語会」が行われます。染丸師匠が、弟子さんたち(染二、花丸、染弥)、そして桂阿か枝とご先祖の作品を語ります。その中のお噺は長年語れていないもので、明日の会が復活祭でもあります。明日の晩、お時間がございましたら、ぜひ、歴史的な会を聴きにいきませんか。チケットはあまり残っていませんが、お求めの方はこちらへどうぞ:林染会事務所:06-6355-4659、繁昌亭のチケット窓口:06-6352-4874、チケットぴあ:0570-02-9999 (Pコード: 597-700、ぴあ店頭:サークルK、サンクス、セブンイレブン)。もちろん、僕も聴きにいくので、あそこでお会いしましょう!