Five new Shinuchi （真打）will be born this month!
“Shinuchi” (pronounced “Shin uchi”) is the master status in the Rakugo world i.e. the highest rank that a Rakugo performer can ever achieve. Only by achieving this status, you are allowed to perform as the headliner in a line-up show and take your own apprentice to preserve the Rakugo tradition.
It normally takes roughly 15 years of full time training to reach this status.
What makes this news even more exciting is that one of the five new Shinuchi this time round is a woman!
Rakugo was traditionally developed by men, and it wasn’t until 1993 that female Shinuchi were born. I used the plural form because in fact two female Shinuchi, Kokontei Kikuchiyo (古今亭菊千代) and Sanyutei Karuta (三遊亭 歌る多), were born in the same year!
And this month Kokontei Kikuchiyo’s apprentice Kokontei Komako (古今亭駒子) will become a Shinuchi, therefore becoming the first time ever female master-disciple both reaching the Shinuchi status in history.
Rakugo is evolving.
Incorporating more feminine elements into Rakugo will definitely transform this art form.
Exciting time we live in!
If you read Japanese, you can find more information on this page.