Rakugo 落語

Rakugo (落語, literally “fallen words”) is a form of entertainment based on monologues. The rakugoka (the person who does monologues) sits in a seiza position on a zabuton in front of the public and tells funny short stories. Normally the stories/jokes follow a similar patter in which two main characters go through an experience together or discuss/talk about some topic. The rakugoka changes the voice tone depending on the character he is interpreting. The stories usually end with an ochi, a culminating moment in which the moral of the story and the funny part of the joke is unveiled.

Last month I had the chance to attend a rakugo performance. The rakugoka made my imagination fly and he made me have an enjoyable and entertaining time, but for some reason I didn’t fully understand why the jokes were funny. Everybody was laughing but me!


A video so you can have an idea of how a rakugo performance is.

2 replies on “Rakugo 落語”

I went to a rakugo performance during my summer abroad with my host mother and had a similar experience of not understanding why most of the jokes were funny but the rakugoka told a story that is still the funniest thing I’ve ever heard in Japan.

A school boy was reading a hentai book in class and had it hidden inside his textbook, fully enjoying himself until the teacher asked him to read to the class. He was just at the sexiest part in his comic and so started reading the words he saw “aah, iie, ah, un”. And the teacher just coaxed him on “come on, we know you can read it”. “Ah, hen na kanji…” “Oh you can’t read the character? It’s ok, just keep reading”. It kept going like that for another few minutes and the entire audience was rolling.

I use to watch japanese movies and it’s clear that the japanese sense of humour it’s very diferent from the spanish one, 😉

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