Rakugo Storms the Ayala Museum

Japanese rakugo-ka, Katsura Kaishi

Japanese rakugo-ka, Katsura Kaishi

We were pleasantly frazzled as we watched people come inside the warm and elegantly lit Ayala Museum lobby. The winds were already strong around 4pm then, which were followed by the strong rains. While at first we were worrying where to seat the extra 200 persons, in a venue which normally accommodates 200 (that’s a total of 400+ reservations or 200% audience capacity), we worried if our audience will attend at all.

Thankfully, they did and was totally  ignoring the bashing rain outside.

Full house!

Full house!

Mr. Katsura Kaishi, with his keen observation of people (and even animals) and everyday culture, won over the audience last September 25 with resounding laughter.  Mr. Katsura with only a fan and hand towel, acted out multiple characters and created fantastic scenarios. I knew the joke about the monkey driving the car back in grade school, but he knew how to make the story come alive and more enjoyable!

Katsura Kaishi

Katsura Kaishi

Unlike other comedy acts which make fun of a particular person, usually well-known, Mr. Katsura’s rakugo tales were a mix of childlike wonder, excitement and naughtiness, which feature the people in our neighborhood.

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If you would be lucky enough to be next door to Mr. Kaishi. It seems that his mission to spread the art of rakugo all over the world and for it to become a household name, just like sushi or kabuki, has not given him enough time to heat his seat back home in Japan. Prior to his visit in Manila, he was in the Singapore from the US; then from Manila to Cebu, back to Manila to Brunei.  Oh, to be a man on a mission.

Also as entertaining, and informative, are the videos explaining the art of rakugo and the warm-up introduction and farewell by Ms. Chiho Kitagawa.

Gettting to know rakugo

Gettting to know rakugo

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With Ms. Chiho Kitagawa

Despite the last minute run for a zabuton (thank you Renaissance 😉 ), it was a delightful project to handle, thanks to the Ayala Museum (Mrs. Ortigas, Valerie and Duffie), clickthecity.com (thank you Dara!), NBN’s She-Ka (Monica, Machelle and Joanne) and our technical director, Roman Cruz with the Sinag Arts Foundation.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Rakugo Storms the Ayala Museum

  1. punafish

    Great stuff, thanks for spreading the rakugo word! I’ve been listening since the early eighties and am currently a cross-cultural business communication consultant. Nothing works better (in the appropriate situation) than humor in drawing on our common humanity and bridging gaps. For my throughts on rakugo, check out my two newest posts at
    http://japaninsight.wordpress.com/2010/03/04/glimpses-of-culture-through-humor-an-introduction-to-japanese-comic-storytelling/
    and
    http://japaninsight.wordpress.com/2010/03/05/okechimyaku-japans-humorous-afterlife/
    and

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