Verbal Arts of Japan Comes to Yale

As some of you know, rakugo—Japan’s “sit-down” form of comedic storytelling—has become one of my passions in recent years, as I have frequently been going to yose and other rakugo events whenever I am in Japan. I’ve been to all the main Tokyo yose and even Osaka’s sole yose and have enjoyed performances from a wide variety of rakugoka. The thought occurred ro me about four years ago that I might want to bring some of these brilliant comedians to Yale. Well, after a four-year wait, they are here and will perform on March 30, 2023, at the 53 Wall Street Auditorium at Yale University. 

With the splendid assistance of Momoe Melon, who also produced the various editions of Conversations in Silence (here, here, here, and here), we invited some of the top performers in rakugo—plus one of the stars of rokyoku, a sung-form of oral storytelling—to perform in New Haven. After a performance at Yale, the group will do a tour, first going to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and then Dickinson College. 

Here is the information on the Yale event:


Spend an evening experiencing the traditional oral storytelling traditions of Japan:

Rakugo: Japan’s “sit-down” comedy where one performer plays multiple characters in narrating a comic story

Rokyoku: A sung form of narration featuring a singer/storyteller with shamisen musical accompaniment


  • Irifunetei Sentatsu (rakugo)
  • Tamagawa Nanafuku (rokyoku)
  • Tatekawa Shinoharu (rakugo) (a Yale alum!)
  • Hirosawa Mifune (shamisen)

Performances will be in Japanese with English subtitles. The event is free and open to the public.

Date: 6pm, Thursday, March 30, 2023

Place: 53 Wall Street Auditorium, Yale University 

Click here for more information. 

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