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NHK – A Rakugo Journey through Japan

As the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games get closer, over 20 million tourists per year are visiting Japan. With them in mind, NHK WORLD TV has started RAKU×GO, a new type of program to highlight some of the country’s attractions. English-speaking performers of Rakugo, Japanese traditional comic storytelling, travel around the nation, meet people, and employ their comic storytelling talents to introduce the appeal of each area.

Storytellers this time are Kimie Oshima and Kaishi Katsura. Kimie is a Rakugo performer and social linguist who studies the effects of laughter and humour in English-language education. Kaishi is from the Kamigata School of Rakugo. He has performed in the United States and other countries. Kimie travels to Ishikawa Prefecture; Kaishi goes to Saga. In their journeys, they explore lifestyles, nature, industries, food, traditions, and ways of life.

In the castle town of Kanazawa, Kimie looks in on the traditional sweet and cake industry, visits a confectioner at home, and participates in a tea ceremony. Kaishi heads to Arita, a community steeped in the history and culture of ceramics. He watches master potters at work at their kilns and discovers other attractions. After that, the performers present new comic narratives based on their experiences, at a Rakugo theater in Yokohama.

The programme will be aired on 7 May on NHK WORLD TV.