For Early Birds, Variety 早起きには演芸

San'yûtei Koenka no Engei zukan, property of NHKThis morning I woke up at 3:41 a.m. I guess my body is still on U.S. time.

There used to be much more traditional variety entertainment on Japanese TV, but these days rakugo is generally aired in the early morning hours, if at all.

This morning I watched “Variety Picture Book” (Engei zukan, NHK, Sundays 5:15-5:45 a.m.), hosted by Tokyo-native shamisen mandan (comic chat with shamisen) artist San’yûtei Koenka (1960-).

Sakai Kunio-Tôru on San'yûtei Koenka no Engei zukan, property of NHKToday’s featured performers were the Kansai-based manzai duo Saikai Kunio-Tôru, brothers originally from Iwate prefecture who began performing in 1972, and Tokyo rakugo master San’yûtei Kinba IV, who boasts the longest running professional career in all of rakugo at 72 years–he began his apprenticeship under Kinba III in 1941 at age 12.

I was happy to see Sakai Kunio-Tôru on TV because I have met Kunio, the “strait man” (tsukkomi) in the duo (right side of photo). Thanks to Somemaru, I have been out to dinner and karaoke with him. Kunio was a fabulous singer and, in fact, his crooning was a big part of the act aired this morning. Very funny indeed.

San'yûtei Kinba IV on San'yûtei Koenka no Engei zukan, property of NHKKinba told the story “Long and Short [Tempered]” (Chôtan), which features two friends–an extremely patient man from Kamigata and a short-fused man from Edo/Tokyo. The latter repeatedly gets angry at the former because he talks and smokes way too slowly. At the end of the story, the Kamigata man has something to say, but fears that his Edokko friend will get angry if he tells tells him. No, the Edokko says, urging him to speak up. When the Kamigata man slowly informs his friend that his sleeve in on fire, the Edokko becomes furious. The former then delivers the ochi: I guess I shouldn’t have told you after all. Rakugo by such a seasoned master is truly a luxury to listen to. San'yûtei Kinba IV on San'yûtei Koenka no Engei zukan, property of NHKInterestingly, Kinba used a kendai and hizakakushi–generally only used in the Kamigata tradition–for this story. This was not simply for decoration, though. He used it to conceal the lower half of his body as he sat cross-legged. It must have become too painful for Kinba to sit in the traditional manner, seiza.

I woke up too early this morning, but was rewarded with variety on TV. I think I should continue getting up early enough to watch programs like these, but not before 5:00 a.m. if I can help it.



今朝、三味線漫談家の三遊亭小円歌が司会を勤める「三遊亭小円歌の演芸図鑑」という番組(NHK, 毎週日曜 午前5:15~5:45)を見ました。

Sakai Kunio-Tôru on San'yûtei Koenka no Engei zukan, property of NHK今日の出演者は昭和47年結成で岩手県出身の兄弟漫才のコンビ、関西を中心に活動されている酒井くにお・とおる師匠、そして昭和16年、12歳で三代目三遊亭金馬に入門なさった東京落語の大師匠の四代 三遊亭金馬でした。 金馬師匠は2014年現在、東西併せて落語界最古参の落語家でいらっしゃいます。


San'yûtei Kinba IV on San'yûtei Koenka no Engei zukan, property of NHK金馬師匠のお噺は気の長い上方ものと超短気の江戸っ子が登場する「長短」をお演りになりました。上方出身の男は喋るにも煙草を吸うにもあまりにも時間がかかるので、江戸っ子が何度も怒ります。噺の最後に上方ものは言いたい事がありますが、怒られると思って遠慮します。怒らないと江戸っ子が約束しますが、着物の袖が燃えているよとゆっくりと知らされろと、やはり、江戸っ子が怒り出します。オチで上方ものが言います、「やっぱり、おせえねえ (教えない) ほうがよかった」。大名人の落語を聴けて、まことに贅沢でした。おもしろいことに、金馬師匠が普段上方でしか使わない見台と膝隠しを置いていました。これはただの置き道具・飾りではなく、下半身を隠すためでした。お足が痛んでいらっしゃるためか、正座ではなく胡座をかいてお演りになりした。