RAKUGO ~Japanese Sit Down Comedy~
Rakugo is a form of entertainment best described as Japanese sit-down comedy or comic story telling. During a show the Rakugo performer sits on a small pillow dressed in a kimono and acts out the whole story by themselves equipped with only a fan (Sensu) and hand towel (Tenugui) to help convey ideas.
A Rakugo story is told through the conversations between characters, therefore, the performer must be able play the role of each distinct character by changing personality, facial expression, mannerisms, speech, etc.. In most cases the characters have strong stereotypical personalities and characteristics so that as the performer switches from one character to another the audience readily detects the change.
To be a professional Rakugo performer you have to ask a Rakugo master to become their protégé and only a person who can complete training for 3 years can be accepted as a Professional Rakugo performer.
Showko Showfukutei trained as a Rakugo performer under Master Kakushow in London receiving the 400 year old traditional name Showko Showfukutei upon completion. She is one of 1500 Rakugo performers, only a handful of women and the only one living overseas.
Showko is a member of the Kamigata Rakugo Association and regularly goes back to Japan to perform at the Hanjyo-tei Rakugo Theatre in Osaka where only professional Rakugo performers can perform. Showko’s style of Rakugo is very animated with lots of actions and facial expressions so that any age groups seeing Rakugo for the first time can understand and enjoy Rakugo humour.
Showko performs Traditional Rakugo, personal life story Rakugo and Ventriloquist Rakugo.