Recently, I have been introduced to the tales by Nasreddin, a Seljuk satirist from the 13th century. It was my writer friend’s recommendation, and I got hold of this quirky wise man’s books mainly out of curiosity.
The very first story I read was about Nasreddin’s most unexpected response to a robber who had just stolen his belongings. I couldn’t believe my eyes as he acted as if he’d been straight out of the rakugo world!!!
This story can be easily developed into a rakugo script. I read on and found so many others that tickled my funny bone!!!
Yes, it was my complete ignorance, but I hadn’t expected something this comical would come out of this part of the world. (They would say the same about my country Japan… haha!!!)
It was really eye-opening.
This led me to explore other tales from the Middle East, and I bumped into the Tales of Juha. This one is a bit harder to develop into a rakugo story, but I can see some universal humour that can work anywhere in the world.
Come to think of it, some of the classical rakugo tales are of foreign origin.
“The God of Death” (死神), which was made famous by the manga masterpiece “Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju”, was based on a story by the Bothers Grimm of Germany. “The Zoo” (動物園) written over 100 years ago was originally from a British humourous story.
Good stories are universal and find their place wherever they are introduced to.
The power of stories!