Rakugo : Performing Comedy and Cultural Heritage in Contemporary Tokyo
Rakugo introduces the storytelling genre of Edo-style rakugo as performed around the turn of the twenty-first century, focusing on the performers' image, training, and techniques and the art's contexts and audiences. Brau argues that, while storytellers' goal of making a hit with audiences sustains the art's vitality, rakugo has come to represent something more than simply popular entertainment: it is also regarded as the cultural heritage to which some Japanese may turn in a nostalgic search for identity.
- Paperback | 274 pages
- 152 x 228 x 24mm | 458.13g
- 01 Mar 2008
- Lexington Books
- Lanham, MD, United States
- black & white illustrations, figures
A brilliant ethnography of an exquisite Japanese performance genre by one who has not only studied it but also been a fan, apprentice, and performer in her own right. This luminous account of the art of storytelling is everything Walter Benjamin could have hoped for and more. -- Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, author of Destination Culture: Tourism, Museum, and Heritage Lorie Brau's intimate knowledge and expertise illuminate her vivid account of a traditional comic art that remains immensely popular in today's Japan. Rakugo deserves to be better known abroad, and this book is a superb introduction to it. -- Howard Hibbett, Harvard College Lorie Brau's Rakugo is a significant piece of scholarship...and contains a detailed history and several translated stories...This study is detailed and at times fascinating. The Japan Times Online, November 2008 Japan scholars, students, and those interested in traditional performing and narrative arts, early modern and modern history, popular culture, media, humor and heritage...will surely want to have Rakugo: Performing Comedy and Cultural Heritage by Lorie Brau on their shelves, for both research and enjoyment... Thanks to Brau's unique position as an insider in the rakugo world, readers are exposed to its realities and excitement. Her language flows beautifully as she tells her story, and she presents her subject in an instructive, yet warm and welcoming manner. -- Matthew W. Shores, University of Hawai'i at Manoa The reader is able to get a very clear idea of what it is like to go to a rakugo performance without being there. It contains an index and a glossary of selected terms which is particularly useful to anyone interested in building a solid foundation of knowledge for further research on the topic. Brau's book will be interesting and useful for several kinds of readers... -- Till Weingartner, Freie Universitat Berlin Rakugo is the 'sit-down' comedy of nimble narrative performed on stage in vaudeville-like halls. With erudite textual analysis and unusual participant-observation, Brau sure-handedly takes us into this small world of Japanese 'culture' and shows us quite vividly what is at stake in its performance and its perpetuation, both for rakugo itself and, by inference, for heritage performance genres generally. -- William W. Kelly, Yale University The reader is able to get a very clear idea of what it is like to go to a rakugo performance without being there. It contains an index and a glossary of selected terms which is particularly useful to anyone interested in building a solid foundation of knowledge for further research on the topic. Brau's book will be interesting and useful for several kinds of readers. -- Till Weingartner, Freie Universitat Berlin
About Lorie Brau
Lorie Brau is assistant professor of Japanese in the department of foreign languages and literatures at the University of New Mexico.
Table of contents
Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter 2 Chapter I: Ethnographer as Mummy Hunter Chapter 3 Chapter II: A Night at the Yose Chapter 4 Chapter III: What Makes Rakugo Rakugo? Chapter 5 Chapter IV: Wits, Outlaws, Flatterers, and Antiquarians: Hanashika Heritage Chapter 6 Chapter V: Rehearsing Tradition: Zenza Apprenticeship and the Hanashika Career Chapter 7 Chapter VI: Producing Rakugo: Traditional and Alternative Performance Contexts Chapter 8 Chapter VII: Making a Hit with Classical Rakugo Chapter 9 Chapter VIII: Rakugo Audiences and Fans Chapter 10 Conclusion: Tokyo Rakugo and Heritage