Greetings all! はじめまして！
Thank you for visiting my new website about Rakugo. My name is Hiroshi, a Rakugo enthusiast and a novice Rakugo performer based in Auckland, New Zealand.
My stage name is Kanariya Eishi (鹿鳴家英志), which was given by my Rakugo teacher Kanariya Eiraku (鹿鳴家英楽).
Rakugo is a Japanese traditional art of comedy storytelling with a history of over 300 years. Though Rakugo is primarily a comedic expression, its themes include ghost stories, tragedies, sci fi, and even erotic tales.
Unlike stand-up comedy in the west, it does not always have to be funny. Some stories have very little humor and sometimes do not even have clear punchlines. Audience come enjoy good stories whether they are funny or otherwise.
Many enthusiasts often know the entire plots of stories, but they still go to performances to appreciate different interpretations by each rakugo performer. This is rather like how people take joy in Shakespearean plays in the west.
Along with other Japanese traditional arts such as Noh and Kabuki, Rakugo has been fighting a long battle for survival in our ultra modernized hi-tech society.
However, in recent years, there has been a big revival of the art, thanks to TV dramas and anime/ manga such as “Life’s Like a Comedy” (Japanese title: “ちりとてちん”) and “Descending Stories” (Japanese title: “昭和元禄落語心中”).
Through this website, I would like to share my passion for the art and eventually post performance schedules once I start performing in Auckland and beyond. I have named the website “English Rakugo NZ” as it is my dream to somehow localise this beautiful tradition in my second home New Zealand.
If you are interested in getting involved as a performer, a supporting staff, or even as a funder, please contact me through the contact page.