Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Ihara Tsuyoshi makes his debut as a rakugo storyteller

Ihara Tsuyoshi made his debut as a rakugo storyteller at National Theatre of Japan on 3 December under the stage name of Gougou which was voted by the 300-strong audience. Ihara revealed that he took an interest in rakugo after working with the late Katsura Shijaku in the 1996 NHK morning drama "Futarikko" and started viewing rakugo performances during his free time about 5 years ago. His new year resolution this year was to do something he had always wanted to try and decided to approach Shijaku's student Jakujaku to learn rakugo after viewing the latter's solo performance in April. Ihara then wrote a letter to Jakujaku asking to be accepted as a student and began formal training in October this year.

Jakujaku revealed that when he received the letter from Ihara, he was convinced that the latter was very passionate about rakugo and had already made up his mind to learn it properly. During the training, Jakujaku saw how Ihara was so enthusiastic that h had to ask him to tone down a bit. As his teacher, Jakujaku was happy to see his student make his debut and hoped to see Ihara make his mark in Osaka which will be the ultimate test of his ability and talent.

Ihara revealed that he will continue working as an actor while juggling his rakugo training and performance. In order to distinguish his image as an actor and rakugo storyteller, Ihara decided to wear a pair of round-shaped spectacles and red kimono for his debut performance. As Shijaku had tried using English to perform rakugo in the past, Ihara's dream is to do the same in Los Angeles one day. At the age of 53 and having been an actor for 35 years, Ihara views this new "debut" in a new field as a form of stimulation for himself.

Source: Sponichi

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