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January 17, 2014

Traditional Japanese performances highlighted at event

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Rakugo, Japanese comedic storytelling, and Kamikiri, Japanese paper cutting, will be featured on Feb. 18 at Purdue University.

An Evening of Traditional Japanese Performances: Rakugo and Kamikiri is at 7 p.m. in Matthews Hall, Room 210. The event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the School of Languages and Cultures, the Department of East Asian Languages and the Asian Studies Program. All performances will be in Japanese with English subtitles projected on PowerPoint slides.

Rakugo, where the performers sit on a cushion to tell a humorous story without standing on their feet, will be presented by guest artist Ryūtei Saryū. The storyteller can only use a paper fan and a tenugui, a Japanese towel, as props. Saryū became an apprentice of professional Rakugo performer Yanagiya Sankyo in 1993, and Saryū received a top rank, shin'uchi, in 2006. He continues to concentrate on classical stories and has an orthodox performance style, says Eiji Sekine, associate professor of Japanese and chair of the Department of East Asian Languages and coordinator of the event.

Hayahiya Niraku is the guest artist performing Kamikiri. The artist asks for a topic from the audience, and then the performer cuts out the image from a plain piece of paper without drawing an outline. There are only a handful of professional Kamikiri performers, and Niraku was born into a Kamikiri family. He served as an apprentice for his father in 1989, and has been performing on stage since 1991. 

Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723, apatterson@purdue.edu

Source: Eiji Sekine, esekine@purdue.edu 

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