Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu – A Different Sort of Rakugo


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Throughout the first half of Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, Kikuhiko has spent his time trying to come to terms with his life as a rakugo-ka, often musing on why he is there, and whether he can be a true story teller. His uncertainties are contrasted with the absolute certainty of Sukeroku, who neither wavers, nor questions his current existence, always believing in his story telling ability, and knowing that what he truly wants to do, is to entertain people. Read more of this post

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu – The Seduction of Theatre


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So far Shouwa Genroku Rakguo Shinjuu has been a fascinating glimpse at a period when two Japan’s collide, something that I am particularly interested in. As the series has progressed Tokyo, and the world around Sukeroku and Yakumo (Kikuhiko) has changed, with the old world of the Taisho and early Shouwa periods gradually disappearing, or being consumed by the ever advancing economy and society of post-war Japan. Indeed, we now see the old and the new side by side, jostling for space, which ultimately results in the old losing out. Read more of this post

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu – Blinded by Perfection


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Up until now, Shouwa Genrku Rakugo Shinjuu has largely focussed on the early Shouwa period, a period that saw Japan shift towards an authoritarian, and nationalist regime. It also represents a period where Japan was simultaneously an industrialised, and modern country, while also maintaining a direct link to the more traditional past, with dirt roads, and classical architecture in abundance through the last two episodes. Read more of this post

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu – The Captivated Audience


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To be successful, rakugo must captivate the audience, taking them to a time and place that has long since passed, and one that often deals with mannerisms, etiquette, and social issues that are largely irrelevant to modern society. The majority of these stories are set in the Edo period, and are therefore bound up in older traditions, ones that may well be passed on in other art forms such as kabuki, noh, and tea ceremony, but have long since disappeared from everyday life. As such, central to a rakugo performance is the ability of the rakugo-ka to successfully conjure up these periods, twisting space and transporting the audience into his world. Read more of this post

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu – Different Worlds


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I briefly touched upon the conflict between periods in my first post on Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, pointing to the tension between the new, modern period of economic success, and the traditional, even old fashioned image of Rakugo, complete with kimono and classical architecture. These moments are brief, but important, representing a split within the culture and society of Japan. Read more of this post

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu – The Simpleton and The Master


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Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu represents one of the few times when anime have explored the post-war period in Japan, presenting it’s audience with a glimpse into a period of immense change and modernisation, where old is replaced by new, and traditions are either pushed to one side, or forgotten. It is a series about Rakugo, a very Japanese, and highly distinctive genre of comic monologue that can be described as Japan’s ‘talking art’. Read more of this post