On Wednesday 26 November, Katsura Sunshine gave a traditional Rakugo performance at the Andrew Stewart Cinema. Rakugo is a 400-year-old tradition of comic storytelling in Japan. A minimalistic performance art, Rakugo features a lone storyteller dressed in kimono, kneeling on a cushion, who, using only a fan and a hand towel for props, entertains the audience with a comic monologue followed by a traditional story. The storyteller differentiates characters in conversation by moving his head from left to right, as well as with subtle changes in tempo, posture, intonation, etc.
Sunshine was born in Toronto, Ontario, to parents of Slovenian origin. In 2008, Sunshine was accepted as an apprentice to the great Rakugo storytelling master, Katsura Bunshi VI (then named Katsura Sanshi), and subsequently received the name Katsura Sunshine. Sunshine received his professional debut in Singapore the following year, and completed his three-year Rakugo apprenticeship in November, 2012. Sunshine is the first ever Western Rakugo storyteller in the history of the “Kamigata” Rakugo tradition, based in Osaka, and only the second ever in the history of Japan. He is the only Western professional Rakugo storyteller at the present time. Sunshine is also the Cultural Ambassador for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Japan.
For more information about Rakugo and Katsura Sunshine, click here.