Kanariya Eiraku and company will present English rakugo during the Nisei Week Festival.

The performance will take place on Saturday, Aug. 15, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Miyako Hotel, 328 E. First St. in Little Tokyo. Info: Kanariya Eiraku, kanariya.eiraku@gmail.com.

Additional shows are scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 16, from 12 to 2 p.m. and 3 to 5 p.m. at Opus Music, 2219 Torrance Blvd. in Torrance. Info: Tak Minei, takminei@yahoo.com

Kanariya Eiraku
Kanariya Eiraku

The tour will include the following stops in the Bay Area:

Wednesday, Aug. 12, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the San Mateo Japanese American Community Center, 415 S. Claremont St. in San Mateo, (650) 343-2793, www.smjacc.org.

Thursday, Aug. 13, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California, 1840 Sutter St. in San Francisco, (415) 567-5505, www.jcccnc.org.

Rakugo is a 400-year-old tradition of comic storytelling. A minimalist performance art, it features a lone storyteller dressed in a kimono. Kneeling on a cushion, while using only a fan and hand towel for props, he or she entertains the audience with various types of stories such as comedy and horror.

Stories will include “Time Noodles,” “Nopperabo” (a person with no eyes, no nose and no mouth) and “Snow in Hawaii,” which is about a woman who went to Hawaii and got married to a Japanese American there.

Kanariya Eiraku’s real name is Tatsuya Sudo and he teaches at Kanda University of International Studies and Kanda Institute of Foreign Languages in Tokyo. The stage name Eiraku means “English is fun.” He wants Japanese learners of English to enjoy studying English. He also sings Japanese songs in English with the ukulele.

Eiraku graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English at Sophia University, Faculty of Foreign Studies, in 1981, and graduated with a master’s in TESOL (teaching English to speakers of other languages) at Temple University in 1994. He participated in Rakugo Tatekawa-ryu, founded by Tatekawa Danshi, in 1984, started Japanese rakugo classes in 1991, and started English rakugo classes in 2007.

Eiraku performs rakugo in English at international organizations such as JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) and foreign embassies and at educational institutions at all levels from elementary schools to colleges. He believes rakugo is quite beneficial in life and English rakugo will help people acquire the English language, develop a sense of humor, and improve presentation skills.

For more information, visit: http://school.jorudan.co.jp/eigolike/pc/rakugo/rakugo_profile_english.php

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