Canary Rakugo Company’s 30th Anniversary

My master’s rakugo school, Canary Rakugo Company, has recently celebrated its 30th anniversary!

Considering the rakugo club that I established in Auckland lasted only for 3 years (mainly due to my poor leadership skills) … this is an amazing accomplishment!

Canary Rakugo Company actually opened its door in 1991, but the celebration was delayed by a year due to the pandemic. I had been planning to attend the anniversary party myself but gave up in the end as Japan still had many travel restrictions that prevented me from organising my trip on time 😢

Here are some photos from the party on my master’s website!

This school initially only taught rakugo in Japanese for the first 15 years.

The first teacher was now legendary rakugo performer and celebrity, Tatekawa Shiraku (立川志らく). He taught rakugo there for 4 years.

But what was truly revolutionary about this school was that my master, Kanariya Eiraku, decided to also start teaching rakugo in English to take this loveable art to the world in 2007.

Rakugo was first performed in English in 1983 by Katsura Shijaku II, and he established this art until his unfortunate passing in 1999. His will was carried on mainly by Kamigata Rakugo (Osaka/ Kansai Rakugo) performers.

But what distinguishes my master from others is that he has introduced non-farcical stories as well to the world.

As you may know, rakugo is not just a comedic expression. It began as a comedy tradition, but it also includes tales such as love stories, historical stories, human-interest stories, and even tragedies.

My master has introduced many, many stories in English for the first time ever, I dare say, in human history.

He has published 3 books on rakugo in English along with Kristine Ohkubo, and he also established the English Rakugo Association, which now I am a member of.

I am aware that there are still many skeptics and naysayers who believe performing rakugo in English doesn’t work or even sacrilegious.

In my personal opinion, only the audience members will decide!

Farewell to Aoteya Rakugo Club

With a very heavy heart, the Aoteya Rakugo Club has closed its doors due to the lack of interest and participation as of today.

Now that the Covid restrictions are gone, the members’ priorities and commitments have changed- some taking up new jobs and responsibilities, and others training for the national wall climbing championships!!!

I would like to thank the Auckland Council, Onehunga Community Centre, and all the staff who have helped us along the way. Without your supports, we would’ve never survived for the last 3 years. Thank you so very much!!!

I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank you, all the current and past members of the club, for the last 3 years. All the very best for your endeavours!!!

Meanwhile, this man can only think about rakugo that he will keep following his path- a boring man he is!

May our paths cross once again someday!

Best regards,

Kanariya Eishi