The World’s First Poem about Rakugo Performers in English?

One of the things I have meant to share on this website is this possibly the first poem about rakugo performers in English.

It was written by a narrator/ actor/ writer, Stuart Atkin, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of my rakugo master’s English rakugo school in October 2017.

I had a permission to share this on my website but somehow never happened until now (I did write about it on my Japanese blog, though).

So… ladies and gentlemen… this is possibly the first poem about rakugo in the English language! There are a few Japanese terms you might not understand. Please comment if you need any explanation. I’ll be super happy to answer!

The Good Old Days (Song of Rakugoka)

Yes, folks, this is it indeed:
Stories from the past we tell-
Trad Japan on a cushion,
And lots of laughs as well!
With just our voices, hands, and eyes,
A tenugui and a fan,
We build up pictures in your mind
Of life in Old Japan.
In kimonos yellow, turquoise, mauve,
Red and brown, sky-blue and green,
We talk of mochi, soba, fish,
And the bustling Edo era scene;
Chonmage, netuske, hibachi, nagaya,
Cats and doctors, tea and manju,
Wrestlers, travellers, vendors, bo-san,
Con men, courtesans, actors, too,
Not to mention roamin’ ronin,
Their swords just worn for fashion….
Stories we have on all of these
Here in our yose, told with passion;
Tales of folk life you and me,
Funny in lots of silly ways,
So sip your sake, sit back and laugh,
And enjoy with us the good old days!

― Stuart Atkin

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