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Sit-down comedy, Japanese-style

Shinoharu Tatekawa to tell stories sitting on a bare stage for rakugo show

Published on Jun 13, 2014 1:50 PM
Japanese comedian Shinoharu Tatekawa (above) is attracted to the minimalistic set-up of rakugo. -- PHOTO: VIVID CREATIONS

In rakugo, a man or woman narrates a comical story - sometimes with the help of a fan or handkerchief as a prop - while sitting on a bare stage.

The minimalistic set-up, which allows room for imagination, was what attracted Japanese comedian Shinoharu Tatekawa to rakugo, a form of Japanese verbal entertainment which dates back to the 18th century.

"At my first rakugo show, the characters came alive in my mind, as if I had read a great novel. But unlike a good book, rakugo is special because it is found only in Japan," Shinoharu, who is usually referred to by his first name, tells Life! in fluent English.

The 37-year-old is staging a two-day show at YMCA Singapore on Thursday and June 20, performing rakugo in Japanese on the first night and in English the next.

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Where: YMCA Auditorium @ One Orchard Road

When: Thursday (in Japanese) and June 20 (in English), 7.30 to 9pm

Admission: $25 from or $30 at the door