Graduate Student Forum

Paying It Forward: How a Non-Monetary System of Training Saved the World of Rakugo Storytelling in 21st Century Japan

Tuesday, 27 September 2022 | 9:00 - 9:45 (JST)
Zoom Meeting
  • Marco Di Francesco Oxford School of Global and Area Studies, University of Oxford
  • Sawako Shirahase TCJS Director
Event Description

Even before the covid-19 pandemic, so-called traditional performing arts in Japan had been struggling to attract enough new forces to replace increasingly aging performers. An exception, however, is rakugo, whose number of professional performers today is the largest ever recorded in its centuries-old history. How has this community of oral storytellers managed to thrive through the ups and downs of the art’s popularity?

About the Speaker

Marco Di Francesco is a PhD Student in Area Studies (Japan) at the University of Oxford. He recently returned from one year of ethnographic fieldwork in Tokyo, where he conducted anthropological research on the world of rakugo storytelling as a visiting researcher at Sophia University’s Institute of Comparative Culture. He holds a BA from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and an MSc from Oxford. He has performed rakugo as a member of Waseda University’s Rakugo Research Club.