A MASTER STORYTELLER!

~The New York Times

THE KING OF KIMONO COMEDY!

~REUTERS

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REVIEWS OF RAKUGO

FROM THE NEW YORK PRESS

A MASTER STORYTELLER!

~The New York Times

THE KING OF KIMONO COMEDY!

~Reuters

THERE IS ONLY ONE SUNSHINE!

~The New Yorker

DELIGHTFUL!  

~Splash Magazine, New York

BEAUTIFUL AND SIMPLE!

~The Times Square Chronicle

SO MUCH FUN!

~WBAI Radio, New York

HILARIOUS!

~Three Tomatoes, New York

EIGHTY MINUTES OF NON-STOP LAUGHTER!

~Three Tomatoes, New York

SIMPLE AND ELEGANT!

~Theatre is Easy, New York

LOVELY AND BRILLIANTLY PERFORMED!

~TheaterScene, New York

SUNSHINE IS AN OUTSTANDING PERFORMER!

~The Front Row Center, New York

NEW YORK AUDIENCES

HAVE BEEN ENRAPTURED!

~Hollywood Soapbox, New York

RELATABLE AND DELIGHTFUL!

~TDF, New York

CHARMING, THOUGHTFUL,

AND GUARANTEED TO BRING A SPARKLE!

~Broadway World, New York

FUNNIER THAN THE TALES IS SUNSHINE HIMSELF!

~The New Yorker

SUNSHINE HAD ME IN STITCHES!

~Reuters

BUOYANT HUMOR AND PLAYFULNESS!

~The New York Times

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RAKUGO
BROADWAY AND BEYOND

NEW YORK RUN:

Rakugo opened at New World Stages in September 2019 where it is currently running every week!

LONDON RUN:

Rakugo opened at the beautiful Leicester Square Theatre in London's West End on December 12, 2021, and is scheduled to run monthly through the end of 2023.  

 

REVIEWS AND PRESS:

Rakugo received universally positive reviews from the New York media, including the New York Times, The New Yorker, and Reuters. 

 

BEST UNIQUE THEATRICAL EXPERIENCE

Rakugo was nominated for Best Unique Theatrical Experience for the 2020 Off-Broadway Alliance Awards

G20 SUMMIT, OSAKA 2019

Sunshine served as bilingual MC for the opening reception of the G20 Summit in Osaka

OSAKA WORLD EXPO, 2025

Sunshine served as spokesman and ambassador for the successful bid to hold the 2025 world fair in Osaka.  He received personal praise from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for his contribution. 

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RAKUGO
THE 400-SMASH HIT IN JAPAN!

THE TRADITION:

Rakugo is a 400-year-old tradition of comic storytelling in Japan.  The stories have been passed down from master to apprentice aurally through the centuries.

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 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. 

Sunshine went to his Master's home every morning for 3 years, did laundry, cleaned, carried bags, folded kimonos, and watched and learned in the way that every Japanese apprentice has done for hundreds of years.

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A NOTE FROM SUNSHINE
LOVE LETTER TO RAKUGO

LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT

I will never forget the first day I saw Rakugo - in a tiny tatami room on the second floor of my favourite Yakitori shop in Yokohama.

Two storytellers did two stories each.  They came out in Kimono, accompanied by Taiko drum and Shamisen, kneeled on a purple cushion, bowed formally and then proceeded to have the audience of 30 in absolute stitches.

The first half of each set was like stand-up comedy - observational humour, personal experiences and all very self-deprecating, which made them endearing.

The second part was the story proper - learned from masters who had learned from their masters, stories from one or two hundred years ago that were just awesome.

The details could fill a book - which I am working on, but suffice it to say I fell in love at first sight: This is what I was born to do!!

The Yakitori shop owner my dear late friend and mentor Ken, said impossible.  

Three year apprenticeship.

Indentured servitude.

Of 800 professional storytellers, not one was Western, or any kind of foreign for that matter.  He couldn't fathom me putting myself through it nor could he imagine a master would take me.

It took a few years, but one master did indeed take me.

(I think he may have regretted it on many an occasion but...  LOL)

And what a master!  Katsura Bunshi VI, one of the most prolific composers of new Rakugo stories in history, a television star in Japan for the last 50 years, and a living national treasure in every sense of the word except the official government one...

He gave me the name Katsura Sunshine with a beautiful play on words with the kanji characters, because he wanted me to bring warmth and humour all over the world, like a true Sunshine.  

And then he commanded me to bleach my hair.

Although one can never repay one's master for what they have done for you, debuting Rakugo on Broadway last year made him very very happy.  

And so I hope to share with you some part of the sheer joy I have inherited from this elegant, minimal, universally hilarious and at the same time uniquely Japanese traditional performance art.

Katsura Sunshine

桂三輝

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KATSURA SUNSHINE
A BRIEF BIOGRAPHY

ABOUT KATSURA SUNSHINE

 

Katsura Sunshine was born in Toronto Canada and holds Slovenian citizenship as well as Canadian.

He began in entertainment as a playwright, composer and producer of musical theatre, and his musical Clouds ran 15 months in Toronto's Poor Alex Theatre and toured Canada.

In 2008 he became the 15th apprentice to the great Rakugo Master Katsura Bunshi VI, from whom he received the name Katsura Sunshine.

Sunshine was the first ever Western Rakugo-ka in the Kamigata tradition (Osaka / Kyoto) and only the second in Japanese history, after his predecessor Kairakute Burakku a hundred years before.

Sunshine has toured over 5 continents performing in 3 languages (Japanese, English and French).

 

His open-ended run at the famous New World Stages in New York ran for 6 months and is currently on hiatus due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.  The show is scheduled to re-open in February 2022.  

He will also be performing in London's West End beginning in December, It achieved a 6-month long run starting in September 2019 and restarted in March 2022 after a hiatus due to Covid 19.

Sunshine divides his time between Tokyo, New York, and London.