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.