Episode 477 – What a Twist!

This week, we’re covering the art of rakugo–storytelling with a twist! How did rakugo emerge from the history of Buddhism, and what has enabled its enduring popularity where contemporary entertainments like kabuki have fallen by the wayside?


Shirane, Haruo, ed. Early Modern Japanese Literature: An Anthology, 1600-1900

Bryan, J Ingram. “Japanese Story-Telling.” Lotus Magazine 5, No 6 (March, 1914)

Adams, Robert J. “Folktale Telling and Storytellers in Japan.” Asian Folklore Studies 26, No 1 (1967)

Sweeney, Amin. “Rakugo: Professional Japanese Storytelling.” Asian Folklore Studies 38, No 1 ( 1979)

Mastrangelo, Matilde. “Japanese Storytelling: A View on the Art of Kodan, The Performances and Experiences of A Woman Storyteller.” Rivista degli studi Orientali 69, No 1/2 (1995).

Kushner, Barak. “Laughter as Materiel: The Mobilization of Comedy in Japan’s Fifteen-Year War.” The International History Review 26, No 2 (June, 2004).


Shinjuku Suehirotei, one of the modern yose halls still remaining.
Sanyutei Encho, writer of the Kaidan Botan Doro
A modern rakugo performance. This gives you a sense of the stage layout.
A tryptic depicting the Kaidan Botan Doro, by Toyohara Kunichika.

2 thoughts on “Episode 477 – What a Twist!”

  1. Has rakugo gone international, with stories in other languages and performances by people of other nationalities or is the performances only in Japanese by Japanese artists?

  2. There’s an anime about rakugo that I love called Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu about how a young man grows up to be a rakugoka.
    Can you at least give us a link to see the rakugo dick jokes?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *