“RAKUGO: Creating Worlds From Nothing”

Rakugo is a unique form of narrative art. It involves the telling of humorous stories about the foolish behavior of ordinary people in everyday life in traditional Japan. One storyteller at a time, simply dressed in a kimono and seated on a cushion, performs on an otherwise empty stage. He or she enthralls the audience not only by vividly presenting the voices of every character in the story, but also by using just their hands, a folding fan and a hand towel to represent a vast range of items, such as chopsticks, knives, ropes, noodle bowls, sake cups and umbrellas, as well as actions including drinking, sweating, chopping food and slurping. We will explore the essence of this popular entertainment refined over many generations and its ongoing appeal.

Presented by The Japan Foundation (JF) (https://www.jpf.go.jp/e/)

<Program Credits>
Performers: YANAGIYA Sankyo, YANAGIYA Gontaro, SANYUTEI Karuta, KATSURA Bunjaku, YANAGIYA Wasabi, OTA Sono, YAMAGIYA Kokichi
Production Assistance: RAKUGO Association, Edo-Tokyo Museum, Asakusa Engei Hall, Suehirotei
Additional Materials: National Diet Library, Tokyo Metropolitan Library, Osaka Castle Museum, Gifu City Museum of History, Time Dome Akashi
Supervision: YANAI Kenji
Video Image Production: NHK ENTERPRISES, INC.
Video Image Producers: HAMANO Takahiro, TAKAKI Eiji
Video Image Director: NISHIHARA Yuki

<Subtitling Credits>
English Translation: TOYOZAKI Yoko, Stuart VARNAM-ATKIN
Chinese Translation (Simplified): Hanqing ZUO
Chinese Translation (Traditional): Yunhsien LIANG
French Translation: NAKAJIMA Naoko
Indonesian Translation: Dewi ANGGRAENI
Russian Translation: Tatiana SOKOLOVA DELUSINA
Spanish Translation: Mauricio MARTINEZ (https://www.japonartesescenicas.org)

End date of distribution: 16/12/2026