Executive Producer Joe Trentacosta

Executive Producer Yoshitaka Tanaka

Artistic Producer Marie Fukuda

Associate Producer Yumi Shinozaki

Proudly Present:

@

THURSDAYS, SATURDAYS, 8pm

(SOME DAYS OFF DUE TO TOURING-SEE SCHEDULE)

NEW WORLD STAGES, 340 W50TH, NEW YORK

DIFFERENT STORIES EACH MONTH!

OCTOBER

REINCARNATION (生まれ変わり)

(Reincarnation is an original story by

Sushine's Master, Katsura Bunshi VI)

ROTTEN TOFU CHIRITOTECHIN (ちりとてちん)

NOVEMBER

GHOST STORY RAKUGO

SHINIGAMI GOD OF DEATH (死神)

DECEMBER

HOLIDAY RAKUGO FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY!

THE ZOO (動物園)

MOMOTARO (桃太郎)

JUGEMU (寿限無)

JANUARY

ADULT RAKUGO - LEAVE THE KIDS AT HOME!

(THE SEEDIER SIDE OF RAKUGO STORIES

AFFAIRS, GAMBLING AND DRINKING!)

 

THE FUROSHIKI CLOTH (風呂敷)

 READING TIME (読書の時間)

(Reading Time is an original story by

Sunshine's Master, Katsura Bunshi VI)

RAKUGO

JAPAN'S 400-YEAR LONG RUNNING COMEDY!

The Tradition

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 where the storyteller performs several characters.

The Monologue

Every Rakugo story is preceded by a comic monologue which consists of the individual storyteller’s own“material”, much like stand-up comedy. The storyteller often takes advantage of this monologue to present humorous explanations of how to enjoy and appreciate Rakugo stories, so that even the uninitiated can easily follow the story once it begins. 

The Apprenticeship

 In order to become a recognized professional Rakugo storyteller, one must apprentice to a Rakugo master. The apprenticeship lasts for three to four years, and is very strict, nearing indentured servitude.  The apprentice cleans the master’s house, does laundry, cooking, preparing and folding kimonos, and other menial chores, and learns the art of storytelling by watching the master perform and imitating.

 

In this sense one learns not just how to tell stories, but how to live the life of a Rakugo storyteller.  Manners, use of polite language, etiquette, appreciation and proper demonstration of indebtedness are all essential parts of this unique training, and understanding of this way of life in its entirety are said to be reflected in one's performance.

Katsura Sunshine BIography

Katsura Sunshine was born in Toronto, Ontario, to parents of Slovenian origin. He studied Classics at the University of Toronto, specializing in Ancient Greek Theatre.

 

In September, 1995, his version of Aristophanes’ “Clouds” opened at the Poor Alex Theatre in Toronto, and ran for 15 months before embarking on a tour of central and eastern Canada.

Sunshine went to Japan in 1999 to pursue studies in Japanese theatre.

On September 1st , 2008, he was accepted as an apprentice to the great Rakugo storytelling Master, Katsura Bunshi VI (then named Katsura Sanshi), and received from his Master the Rakugo name Katsura Sunshine. 

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 has performed in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Australia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Thailand, Nepal, Ghana, Senegal, Gabon, South Africa, as well as throughout Japan. He had both his West End debut at the Leicester Square Theatre and his off-Broadway debut at the SoHo Playhouse for three weeks each in 2017.

In 2019 Sunshine was part of the successful bid of the city of Osaka for the 2025 World Fair, for which he travelled to Paris to present Japanese culture, as well as featuring in a video which was played on the final voting day.  He received praise from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for this work, particularly for the video presentation.

Also in 2019, Sunshine was chosen to be Master of Ceremonies at the opening reception of the G-20 Summit in Osaka.

Sunshine currently divides his time between New York and Tokyo.

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To contact Sunshine directly: katsurasunshine@rakugo.lol