Episode-66: Rakugo Storytelling (and Sake) with Katsura Sunshine

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This week we have a rather special story to tell, as we’re joined by Katsura Sunshine, the second non-Japanese master Rakugo-ka in the history of the craft.

The nuanced, playful, dramatic, and at sometimes outright hilarious art of Rakugo storytelling carries over 400 years of historical and cultural significance, passing down universal messages and timeless life lessons that have helped shape how Japan enjoys and appreciates its stories.

While sharing in a bit of sake, Katsura Sunshine opens up to us about his ongoing life journey through the largely untrodden (outside Japan) world of Rakugo and his steadfast dedication to endlessly honing his craft while bringing honest and faithful depictions of the artform’s beloved stories to international audiences, whether it be Off Broadway, or on YouTube

At Sake on Air, after having been away from our regular home at the JSS Sake & Shochu Information Center amidst a turbulent and challenging year, our guest brought a much needed bit of Sunshine to our short-lived return to our sake sanctuary. While this week’s show isn’t entirely sake (or shochu) specific, together with our very special guest, your regular hosts Chris Hughes and Sebastien Lemoine explore the shared qualities of both the sake and rakugo experience, while being treated to a few performances – and resulting laughter – along the way.

Sunshine's next show is on the 7th of August at the Yoshimoto Yurakucho Theatre, tickets are ¥1,500 in advance or ¥1,800 at the door. Doors open at 12:30 and the performance will begin at 13:00. Tickets can be purchased at https://yoshimoto.funity.jp/search/?kaien_date_type=2021%2F08%2F07&kaijyo_code=999230&kaien_time=13:00

If you enjoyed this week’s (or any week’s) episode of Sake On Air, you can help new listeners discover the show by leaving us a review on Apple Podcasts or on whatever service delivers you all of your podcasting needs. Contact us at questions@sakeonair.staba.jp with any thoughts about this week’s show, and feel free to follow us on  InstagramTwitter, and Facebook. Everything from Sake Future Summit 2020, as well as a number of other recordings, are all archived over on our YouTube channel, as well.

We’ll be back in two weeks’ time with more Sake on Air.

Until then,

Sake On Air is made possible with the generous support of the Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association and is broadcast from the Japan Sake & Shochu Information Center in Tokyo. The show is a co-production between Export Japan and Potts.K Productions, with audio production by Frank Walter.