Rakugo: now and then /今ここにある落語 A virtual roundtable (University of Cambridge)

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Laura Moretti

Apr 13, 2022, 4:13:51 AMApr 13

Rakugo: now and then 


A virtual roundtable 


Join us for a roundtable on the art of rakugo

featuring celebrated rakugo master Tatekawa Shinoharu in dialogue with 

prof Satō Yukiko (The University of Tokyo) 

and Sarah Stark (Ghent University) 




Tuesday 3 May 2022 

15.00-16.30 UK time 

Time converter 

Link to registration 

Everyone is welcome! 



With roots in early modern Japan and yet very much alive and ever-changing, rakugo is a type of performance that defies any easy description. Sitting on his zabuton cushion, one performer creates through words a world populated by different characters; a world filled with humour, suspense, tragedy, horror, and much more. Akin to storytelling, but equally different, rakugo shares aspects with stand-up comedy, but is no stand-up comedy. It is a living art that needs to be experienced to be fully comprehended. Join us to discover rakugo’s complex and multifaceted world! 

As part of Shinoharu’s one-week rakugo residency for students at the University of Cambridge (Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies) this roundtable discusses the creative process behind the creation of shinsaku rakugo, it tackles issues of diversity in performing rakugo, and reflects on the universality of this art.  


The roundtable will be conducted mainly in English, with some parts in Japanese.  



Rakugo master Tatekawa Shinoharu 立川志の春 is a performer born in Osaka, Japan. After graduating from Yale University, he worked at Mitsui & Co. Ltd for three years. In 2002, he was so greatly impressed and inspired when he went to Tatekawa Shinosuke’s rakugo performance, that he decided to give up his corporate career to become a professional rakugo performer himself by taking up a discipleship with Shinosuke. Master Shinoharu trained in the art of rakugo for seventeen years reaching the highest rank of shin-uchi (a master rank rakugo performer). He performs traditional and original stories, both in Japanese and English, and travels around the world to bring rakugo to new audiences. 


Prof Satō Yukiko is Associate Professor at the University of Tokyo. She was awarded her PhD at the same University. Her research focusses on novels and performative arts from the late early-modern period into the Meiji era. More recently she has been working on the production of the modern rakugo writer and performer San’yūtei Enchō. She has also clarified how censorship hit the playful fictional prose known under the label of gesaku. Major publications include: Edo no e-iri shōsetsugōkan no (2011); Santō Kyōden: kokkei share daiichi no sakusha (2009); Edo no shuppan tōseidan’atsu ni honrō sareta gesakucha tachi (2017).  


Sarah Stark is PhD candidate at the Institute of Japanese Studies, Faculty of Arts and Philosophy of Ghent University, Belgium. In her thesis, she examines training processes on and off Tokyo’s rakugo stages. Next to laughing in yose audiences, she enjoys translating children's books for fun, collecting tenugui and taking pictures of Tokyo’s store fronts. Were it not for the pandemic, Sarah would currently be jetting around Europe, producing rakugo shows with supertitles in the local language. 



Facilitators: Prof Barak Kushner and Dr Laura Moretti (University of Cambridge) 

For any inquiry please contact: Dr Laura Moretti (lm...@cam.ac.uk)


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Dr Laura Moretti   BA, MA(Cantab), PhD
Associate Professor in Pre-modern Japanese Studies
Director of Postgraduate Studies (AMES)
University of Cambridge, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Emmanuel College
Fellow & Director of Studies (AMES)


Recent publications 


Pleasure in Profit. Popular Prose in Seventeenth-Century Japan. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020. Named a 2021 Choice Outstanding Academic Title; shortlisted for the 2021 DeLong Book History Prize. 

"The Ise monogatari in Eighteenth-Century Kibyōshi," 255–302. In  Joshua S. Mostow, Tokurō Yamamoto, and Kurtis Hanlon (eds.), An Ise monogatari Reader (Brill, 2021). 


Adaptation as a Strategy for Participation: The Chikusai Storyworld in Early Modern Japanese LiteratureJapanese Language and Literature, 54/1 (March 2020): 67-113.

Recasting the Past: An Early Modern Tales of Ise for Children. Leiden: Brill, 2016. 



Other activities 

Summer School in Japanese Early-modern Palaeography 

YouTube page Japanese Early Modern Palaeography

Laura Moretti

May 2, 2022, 5:13:26 AMMay 2
Dear Colleagues and Friends,

This is a gentle reminder of the virtual roundtable Rakugo: now and then /今ここにある落語, Tuesday 3 May, 15.00 BST. 

Details below. 

Best wishes,

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