Thursday, October 2, 2008

JJNN Thursday: Culture - 11

Welcome again to JJNN for Thursday October 2nd, 2008. Today we will be talking about the Japanese tradition of telling stories.

Everyone loves a good story. Weather it is in the form of a movie, the lyrics of a song, a book or a story passed on orally. In Japan there is a tradition of telling stories orally. They call this form of story telling rakugo. I have been to see rakugo many times and it is always a great experience. I could try to explain how rakugo works, but it would be easier to show an example. Take a look at the video below (rakugo performed in English).

As you can see there is one guy that sits on a cushion and tells the story. He says the lines of all the characters plus the narrator by changing his or her voice and changing the way he sits to represent the ways the characters act. There are hundreds of classic stories that most Japanese people know. The people that follow rakugo know most of these stories by heart. The story from the video is not one of the classic ones. It is set in modern day. A lot of the classic stories are set in the 1800s.

It is a very simple form of entertainment, but it does what it is suppose to do, entertain the masses. I always like a good rakugo. If you ever get the chance go out and see one. It is very much worth it.

Any way, it is now time for the word of the day. Today's word is 落語(らくご). It is pronounced rakugo and means rakugo. There are even some rakugo artists that star on a game show that airs every week. They have to tell jokes to earn points. That is always good entertainment as well.

That's it for today. See you next time at JJNN.

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