Japanese Storytelling

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And now…for something completely different…

Japanese Storytelling
Photo credit: Russ Rowland

Japanese Storytelling.  An ancient art form known as Rakugo. Only 800 people in the world are masters.

Katsura Sunshine is one of them. Only…he is not Japanese. He is actually Canadian, and sports a full head of dyed blonde hair. Yet, Katsura Sunshine is indeed a Rakugo storyteller. Katsura (which has become his real name) spent three years in an apprenticeship in Japan learning from a Rakugo master until he was finally  accomplished enough  to be deemed a master himself.

Katsura Sunshine’s Rakugo is a one-man show that is entertaining, enjoyable and easy to consume.

The stories change every month, but Katsura begins each performance spending time explaining  what this art form is all about and what he had to endure to become a certified Rakugo master.

What is fascinating is that each culture has its own traditions and rituals. When Katsura lovingly tells his stories about the Japanese rituals that he has observed, it is pretty hilarious.

At New World Stages through April. Get the details.

To hear my interview with the producer of Katsura Sunshine: Rakugo, listen to “Bagels and Broadway with Valerie Smaldone,” Saturday morning from 9-10 on AM970 or on podcast.


  • Five-time Billboard Award-winning media personality Valerie Smaldone is a theatre, food, lifestyle and entertainment enthusiast. She is a celebrity interviewer, accomplished voice-over artist and actress. Recent appearances on episodic tv include Law and Order, Criminal Intent, The Other Two (on HBO Max), Tommy, Manifest and Blue Bloods. She is an audiobook narrator and producer. A live event emcee, moderator, and "Voice of God" at events and award ceremonies, Valerie has joined The Story Plant Entertainment Company and is currently working on a film and Broadway play. Visit her website at www.valeriesmaldone.com

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