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Talking through the text : Rakugo and the oral/literal interface Tanaka, Sakurako 1993

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TALKING THROUGH THE TEXTRAKUGO AND THE ORAL/LITERAL INTERFACEbySAKURAKO TANAKACTESL, University of Toronto, 1988B.A., University of Toronto, 1990A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES(INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES)We accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIASeptember 1993© Sakurako Tanaka, 1993In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(SignatureDepartment of ^.to•L41:As 9;1, kov14.) 5/tIADILeSThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate  t'Ar2-q (91L-DE-6 (2/88)iiABSTRACTThe students of 'oral literatures' traditionally viewed 'orality,' thespoken mode of communication, as inferior to 'literacy,' the writtenmode. They depicted 'oral literatures' as legacies from the past, and theproducts of socially, economically and geographically marginalized,illiterate populations, and are hence doomed to disappear in a literatesociety. Many also assumed that 'oral literatures' are characterized bylittle structural complexity and individual creativity, and thus they possessan insignificant esthetic value.This study attempts to re-examine the validity of such traditionalclaims by examining the coexistence and interaction between orality andliteracy in a Japanese traditional narrative art known as rakugo. Rakugo isa highly stylized form of narrative delivered by urban professionalstorytellers in Japan. The study will reveal rakugo's structural features,which are derived from both oral and literate traditions, as well as itsgeneric relation to Japanese literary genres. The study will also examinethe esthetic dynamics of live performance where the performer'screativity is brought into parity with tradition and social norms; andhence it will highlight the significance of oral tradition in a highlyliterate, modern society.Table of ContentsAbstract^ iiTable of Contents.^ iiiAcknowledgments ^viDedication^ viiChapter OneIntroduction 1Chapter TwoEdo Rakugo in Historical Context:From Spoken to Written to Once More Spoken Words^ 121. The Roots of Rakugo^ 14Rakugo and the Buddhist Sermon Tradition^  14Ancient Oral History^  18Buddhist Exemplary Tales 19Other Setsuwa Literature of Heian Period^ 25Setsuwa Literature During and After the Muromachi Period^ 282. The Formation of Edo Rakugo^ 31Edo chOnin: the Influence of the Periphery over the Core^ 32The Development of Edo Rakugo^ 373. Edo Rakugo in the Meiji period 43Rakugo and Political Oratory^ 44Rakugo and Modern Literature 45Rakugo and Public Education^ 494. Post-Meiji Rakugo^ 50Chapter ThreeivRakugo Today: Yose and the Urban Professional Storytellers^ 51Part 1: Contemporary Social Norm^ 53Methods of Research^ 531. Performers 532. Theatrical Context^ 57Yose Today 57HO ru-rakugo^ 62Small Theaters 633. Structural Conventions and Innovations^ 644. Rakugo and Modern Communication Technology^ 68Diversification of the Performance Context 68Preservation of Texts^ 70Mode of Composition 73Part 2: An Account of a Performance Event^761. Introduction to the Event^ 762. The Performer^ 793. Surroundings of the Theater^ 814. Theatrical Setting^ 825. Aspects of the Performance^ 846. Conclusion^ 88Chapter FourPerformance Analysis: Emergent Form, Emergent Message^ 891. "Sannen-me" ("The Third Anniversary")^ 92Basic Plot of its Main Story^ 92Literary Sources^ 92v2. Performance Structure^ 96Prologue^ 105Makura (Introduction)^ 106Hanashi (Main Story) 109Story Schema^ 111Kusuguri 114a) Elimination^ 114b) Modification and Addition^ 1173. Cultural Construction of Genre:A Pragmatic Analysis of the Performance^ 119Pragmatic Dimensions of Rakugo Subgenres 120Conformity and Challenge:the Construction of the Artist's Identity^ 1234. Conclusion^ 129Chapter FiveConclusions and Further Prospects^ 131Appendix One"Sannen-me": Transcription and Translation^ 141Appendix TwoSources for the Textual History of Rakugo Stories^ 174Bibliography ^ 178Glossary of Terms 190viAKNOWLEDGMENTSThe completion of this thesis would not have been possible withoutthe support of Dr. William H. McKellin (Anthropology), the chairpersonof my master's committee, as well as Dr. M. Dale Kinkade (Linguistics),and Dr. Joshua S. Mostow (Asian Studies), the committee members formy thesis at the University of British Columbia.Further appreciation goes to Dr. Brian King (Linguistics), Dr.Gary Arbuckle (Asian Studies), and Mr. KOji Gon'nami (Asian Library)at the University of British Columbia. In Japan, I thank Dr. Matsuo Soga(Linguistics) at the ChilkyO University, Dr. Koji Kawamoto (ComparativeLiterature) at the University of Tokyo, Dr. Shinji Nobuhiro ( JapaneseLiterature) at the University of Tokyo. My special thanks goes to themaster rakugo performers Sansheitei Muraku, SanshOtei Charaku,sanshOtei YumetarO, and a rakugo performer Irifunetei Sentatsu, as wellas to Mrs. Sugita KyOko at Shinjuku Suehirotei, Mr. Naoyuki Yamanobeat Yoshiike Hall, and Mr. Yoshiyuki Matsukura at Asakusa Engei Hall,and to the Tokyo Canadian Club and the Ochiken members of TokyoAgricultural University and Komazawa University.Many more thanks go to individuals and groups who have contributedtheir precious time and thoughts to my research, including two individualsthat are no longer here, late YOko Mori (novelist), and late HajimeTanaka, my grandfather; and two more, living individuals, my motherReiko Tanaka and my father Akio Tanaka.viiTo Our Grandfathers and Grandmotherswhose dreams we are yet to live1Chapter 1IntroductionScholars in many different fields have shared interest in studying'oral literature' of 'non-literate' populations. In many traditional studiesof oral literature, 'orality' i.e. spoken mode of communication, isdepicted as fundamentally incompatible with 'literacy' i.e. the writtenmode. It is generally assumed by many students of oral literature thatthere are fundamental differences in both form and function between theoral and literate texts they were describing and the canonical written textswhich formed the subject matter of literary scholarship per se. Lord(1960), however, in his study of Homeric verse, The Singer of Tales ,pointed out the incongruity inherent in this artificial distinction betweenoral and written. He focused on "oral formulaic expressions," the fixedphrases used as the building blocks of metrical lines by bards in the areaof the former Yugoslavia, showing that such expressions are a hallmarkof Homer's usage, in works traditionally considered to lie at the very coreof the classical Western literary canon.The problem which Lord had raised — what in fact constituted oralliterature? — drew increased scholarly attention to the study of verbalarts. 1 In attempts to better conceptualize "the oral" and "the literary,"scholars in a number of areas began to research the impact of writing and1 The term "verbal arts" refers to various types of folklore whose primary means ofexpression is spoken language. It includes all the genres more commonly referred toby the less technical term "oral literature" — myths, legends, folktales, and oralpoetry (Bascom 1981).2printing upon human culture. This new approach to the nature andfunction of verbal arts has come to be known as the study of orality andliteracy (cf. Finnegan 1988, Havelock 1991).Unfortunately, many workers in this new field have foundthemselves haunted by old attitudes. Chief among these has been theoverwhelming temptation to consider the oral mode of communication asfundamentally inadequate when compared to the written mode. Thisinadequacy is alleged to be of two kinds. First, it is said that the spokenmode of knowledge transmission is technologically inferior to the writtenmode, and thus doomed to a steady degeneration in the unfavorableenvironment of a literate society. Second, it is asserted that verbal arts areintrinsically lacking in esthetic qualities.Folklorists, for instance, have traditionally assumed that verbal artsare characteristic products of non-literate societies situated on thegeographic and economic periphery of the literate world, doomed toeventual displacement and replacement by a literate tradition:It is an ajtys — a singing-duel.... The boy and girl go onbattling with their voices — and Tchitcherine understands,abruptly, that soon someone will come out and begin to writesome of these down in the New Turkic Alphabet he helpedframe...and this is how they will be lost. 2Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow (New York: Penguin, 1987): 356-57. Ofcourse, Pynchon is a novelist, not a folklorist; but the fact that intelligent outsiderstake the inevitable displacement of oral by written as a given shows how pervasivethis assumption is.3They saw transformation from an oral to a literate culture as a unilinear,irreversible process, not just a technological shift but also a change whichwould leave inescapable marks on the social and economic system of thewhole people. It was seen as a fated development, a "technologicaldeterminism," as Finnegan (1988: 12) calls it.Dundes (1977) has pointed out that this dismissive view of verbalarts is deeply rooted in the nineteenth century social evolutionist conceptsof "folk" and folklore. Andrew Lang, a dominant figure in traditionalfolkloristics, wrote in "The Method of Folklore":There is a science, Archeology, which collects and compares thematerial relics of old races, the axes and arrow-heads. There isa form of study, Folklore, which collects and compares thesimilar but immaterial relics of old races, the survivingsuperstitions and stories, the ideas which are in our time but notof it. Properly speaking, folklore is only concerned with thelegends, customs, beliefs of the folk, of the people, of theclasses which have least been altered by the education, whichhave shared least in progress. But the student of folklore soonfinds that these unprogressive classes retain many of the beliefsand ways of savages....The student of folklore is thus led toexamine the usages, myths, and ideas of savages, which are stillretained, in rude enough shape, by the European peasantry.(Lang 1884: 11)Thus, "savages," peasants, and folklore were tied up into one neat,dismissive, and disposable bundle, a triad of unholy survivals from thepast that persisted as obstacles to Victorian "progress." 33 Interestingly enough, given his importance in the evolution of modern theoreticaltrends in literature, one of the first to disagree with such attitudes was the youngFriedrich Nietzsche. When still a professor of philology at Basle, he reacted to4The deterministic view of literate culture as the fated victor overprimitive orality still lurks beneath the surface of much contemporarywork in the field. The only difference is that nowadays oral traditions orverbal arts are linked with the 'third' and 'fourth' worlds rather than withthe local peasantry. Ong, for example, asserts the absolute transformativepower of literacy (and electronic media) over oral culture:[There are] basic differences...between the ways of managingknowledge and verbalization in primary oral cultures (cultureswith no knowledge at all of writing) and in cultures deeplyaffected by the use of writing....The shift from orality toliteracy and on to electronic processing engages social,economic, political, religious and other structures. (Ong 1982:1, 3)Similar attitudes towards the respective worth of the oral and the writtencan be seen in the writings of development specialists and policy-makers,as economic and "social development today is widely regarded asdependent on the ability to read or write" (Finnegan 1988: 23). UNESCOpublications, for example, stress that the acquisition of literacy is essentialto "raise productivity and welfare in the underdeveloped world." (1970:10).As we have already mentioned, the inevitability of the shift from theoral to the written mode of communication is sometimes put down to thealleged esthetic poverty of oral art. Again, this view is rooted inWagner's idealization of the "folk" by remarking that "we gain nothing with ourtheory of the poetizing soul of the people,...we are always referred back to the poeticindividual" (Homer and Classical Philology [1869], cited in Hollingdale: 75).5nineteenth century evolutionist concepts of folklore, which was seen as abastion of reactionary unenlightenment. The new rationalism "regardedthe folk and its creative, especially literary, products with contempt andderision, as lacking in refinement, learning, mastery of diction, andsubtleness and elevation of thought" (Ben-Amos 1982: 21-22). Theevolutionist perspective thus established an image of verbal art as simple,formless, lacking in artistic quality, and devoid of structural complexitywhen compared to modern, written literature. Worst of all, those whowould have taken loud exception to any denigration of lower class peoplestill took the crudity of their art for granted. Take for example thisexcerpt from John Greenway's book American Folksongs of Protest,published in 1953:...to demand literacy worth of folk song is to deny them onecharacteristic of folk material — unsophistication. There aremany inarticulate poets among the folk, but few are muteMiltons; to look for work on the Miltonic level in folk song isto bring it to the level of conscious art (Greenway 1953: 18-19).By definition, folklore remained eternally divorced from the realm of"conscious art." Moreover, those who shared this view regarded oralliterature as the collective expression of non-literate population"constrained by tradition and the weight of social norms againstindividual creativity of expression" (Bauman 1986: 7). What could oneexpect of a menial except "inarticulate" groans and whimpers?A similar tendency to neglect the individually creative side of oralliterature characterizes both seminal writers in the structural study ofverbal art, Vladimir Propp and Claude Levi-Strauss. Propp's approach to6the analysis of Russian fairy tales identifies the sequential units ofnarrative structure called functions — the morphological approach. 4However, Propp was preoccupied with the collective, social side of verbalarts — he claimed that Russian fairy tales were totally uniform in theirconstruction, and concluded that "they all originated from a single origin"(Propp 1968: 106). Levi-Strauss, who saw myths as made up of grosssemantic constituent elements called mythemes, too, based his analyticalframework on the assumption that myths are the offspring of thecollective and unconscious imagination. This led him to suggest that theyrepresent universal structures of human thought (Levi-Strauss 1962).The esthetic bias against verbal arts can still be identified in thewritings of some of the most influential scholars in the field of orality andliteracy, though it takes more subtle forms than it did with Greenwayforty years ago. Wallace Chafe, for example, writes:The fact that writing is a slow, deliberate, editable process,whereas speaking is done on the fly, leads to a difference that Icalled the integrated quality of written language as opposed tothe fragmented quality of spoken (Chafe 1985: 105).Feldman has much the same attitude:In our culture, artful genres are typically written rather thanspoken. Indeed, there may be something about the acquisition ofgeneral literacy in a social group, with its advantages formemory for text, that leads to a gradual transformation of oralartful genres to writing and a consequent depletion of the rangeof artful oral forms. (Feldman 1991: 50).4 Functions are the constant actions of characters (which may vary), actions that haveimplications for the advancement of the plot.7Furthermore, we find frequent and strong assertions that the cognitivecapacity to appreciate the esthetic complexity of oral literature isconstrained by the illiteracy of the listeners. Since the creative processinvolves reflexive activities such as interpretation and reconstruction, thetransition from oral to literate culture is often assumed to entail thedevelopment of new and perhaps more profound levels of intelligence.Thus Havelock (1991: 25) states that the invention of the Greek alphabetprovided the foundation for the later "conceptual revolution" by which"European culture slowly moved over into the ambiance of analytic,reflective, interpretative, conceptual prose discourse."The standpoint described above is so pervasive that it may fairly becalled the dominant tradition. However, this tradition has increasinglybeen challenged by researchers examining "secondary orality," verbal artsfunctioning within literate societies, as opposed to "primary orality,"verbal arts in non-literate societies (cf. Ong 1982). There are now a largenumber of ethnographic works on verbal arts that do not accept thereceived wisdom, and this study aspires to follow in their footsteps.One challenge to the dominant tradition has been the emergence of"urban folklore" studies. For example, Dundes (1977) points out in hisessay "Who are the folks?" that the term folk can refer to any group ofpeople who share some kind of common identity that can serve as thefoundation for a collective mythology. To demonstrate the rich variety offolk groups in today's Western society, he examined the joke as afolkloristic construction. Brunvard, in The Vanishing Hitchhiker,conducted a similar exploration of the urban legends presently circulating8in the United States, with the conclusion that "legends are definitely partof our modern folklore — legends which are as traditional, variable, andfunctional as those of the past" (Brunvard1981: 2).This interest in secondary orality provoked the development of moredynamic analytical frameworks for the study of verbal arts. To cite only afew of many examples, Labov and Waletzky (1967) studied theconversational activities of Americans, and found unsuspected structuralcomplexities in ordinary narratives. They were able to prove that suchnarratives have not only "referential" functions but also an interpretative,reflective aspect which they dubbed the "evaluative" function. Bauman(1977) linked the study of verbal arts with that of performance arts. Hestresses that verbal arts are constitutive, and are spontaneously created asthey are performed; they are not simply abstracted from a model, or text,whether written or spoken. He thus suggests that the artistic dynamics ofverbal arts must be sought in their emergent form and message. Tannen(1982) has applied the method of conversational analysis to the structuralstudy of narrative. Drawing examples from Greek and Americannarratives found in ordinary conversation, she demonstrated that ordinarynarrative discourse contains an abundance of 'literary' strategies, in thesame way that written literature makes abundant use of ordinaryconversational strategies. She thus argues that the significance of the oral-literate debate does not lie in the issue of whether or not something iswritten or spoken, but rather in what kind of expressive strategies onechooses to achieve a desired goal.9The study which follows will adopt the necessary tools and strategiesfrom these and other non-traditional studies to take a fresh look at theoral and literary aspects of a verbal art known as rakugo, morespecifically Edo rakugo. 5 Rakugo is a highly stylized form of narrativedelivered by professional storytellers in Japan. It is not only regularlyperformed in a number of public theaters in Tokyo, including thetraditional theater called yose, but is also broadcast regularly onnationwide radio and television. There are over three hundredprofessional rakugo performers in Tokyo, and they perform bothclassical works (koten rakugo) and modern, innovative stories (shinsakurakugo). Closely linked with the world of professional rakugo are thenumerous amateur rakugo clubs, the ochiken. The members of ochikenboth perform rakugo on their own account and offer expert critiques ofprofessional performances. Rakugo is thus not merely a living fossil, buta dynamic tradition constantly reevaluated and invigorated by a societythat appreciates its value.This study is based on both a survey of the literature on and aboutrakugo and three months of field work that I conducted in Tokyo in thesummer of 1992. During my stay, I observed the activities at severalyose, particularly at Shinjuku Suehirotei, the oldest yose in Tokyo. Iattended a number of rakugo performances on stage, some of which werevideo-taped for the purpose of analysis, as well as observing the backstage5 Rakugo is a generic term which includes two major regional sub-varieties. One isEdo rakugo, "rakugo, Tokyo style." The other is kamigata rakugo, "rakugo, Osakastyle." Below, I will confine myself to the former.10activities of the performers and interviewing a number of them. I alsogathered historical documents including a textual collection of rakugostories, and consulted Japanese students of rakugo.The second chapter surveys the background of rakugo. Rakugo isrooted in the ancient Buddhist sermon tradition and it draws its motifsand structural conventions from a number of oral and literary narrativegenres. The professionalization of Edo rakugo took place during the Edoperiod (1595-1867) in the town of Edo, later called Tokyo. Its audiencewere primarily chOnin, the merchants and craftsmen in Edo, who hadgained a high degree of economic independence. The professionalizationof rakugo went hand in hand with the development of the popularliterature called gesaku, as Edo literary circles were closely linked withthe network of storytelling specialists. In the early Meiji period (1868-1912) rakugo provided valuable linguistic and literary input to assist thestandardization of a national language; it influenced the modern literarymovement known as genbun itchi undo, "the unification of the spoken andthe written language"; and it even came to be used in public education, asthe new parliamentary government sought national integration througheducation for mass literacy education (cf. Morioka and Sasaki 1990,chapter eight).In the third chapter, I will give an account of rakugo in today'ssociety, based primarily on the ethnographic data I obtained during thesummer of 1992. Besides the general commercial outlook for rakugo, Iwill discuss modes of story composition, rakugo in literary forms, andrakugo with modern communication technology.1 1In the fourth chapter, I will examine some esthetic dynamics of arakugo performance that cannot be captured in any texts, written orotherwise. I will discuss the ways in which the performer SanshOteiCharaku synthesized his individual creativity with the tradition and socialnorms in his performance of "Sannen-me (The Third Anniversary)." Increating his version of the story "Sannen-me," SanshOtei Charaku usedtwo texts of the same story, one written and one televised, by adistinguished performer, the late Sanyfitei Ensh6. Although the sequenceof events is identical in all three versions, Charaku's and EnshO's versionswere classified under different subgenres of rakugo, due primarily to thedifferences in the two performers' use of kusuguri, a metanarrativedevice for establishing the narrator's perspective on the story.In the concluding chapter, I will highlight the significance of oralstorytelling in a modern, literate society, as illustrated by the case ofrakugo. Contrary to the still-strong belief that verbal arts lack structuralcomplexities and esthetic quality, I will suggest that their expressiveconventions and esthetic qualities retain a great deal of artistic and estheticvalue in contemporary industrialized society.12Chapter 2Edo Rakugo in Historical Context:From Spoken to Written to Once More Spoken WordsThe Edo period (1595 — 1867) saw the emergence of many types of artconsidered traditional in present-day Japan. These genres frequently foundtheir most enthusiastic support among the chimin, the lower class urbanpopulation of the time. Rakugo was a characteristic product of this milieu,which it was eventually able to transcend with a popularity and appeal thathas allowed it to flourish right down to the present.Rakugo may be subdivided into at least two regional styles. Edorakugo, the more popular, is named for Edo, the largest urban center inpremodern Japan. 1 Although it came to full development in the eighteenthand nineteenth centuries, its roots lie in the Buddhist sermon tradition,dating back to the importation of Buddhism from China and Korea to Japanin the sixth century AD. The sermon tradition, in addition to producing alarge number of religious texts for courtly preachers, also influenced thestructures and themes of secular narrative literature, the written collectionsof oral tales circulating among the commoners. Today's rakugo showsclear traces of this ancient inheritance, not only in its general nature butalso in its forms and motifs.The tendency to combine the written and the oral stronglycharacterizes the development of rakugo during and after the Edo period.1 Edo was renamed Tokyo at the Meiji restoration.13The centralizing and urbanizing forces of late Edo promoted the spread ofliteracy and broadened the circulation of popular literature, a developmentwhich more or less paralleled the professionalization of rakugo as an urbantheatrical art. It simultaneously expressed and propelled the emergence of acharacteristically Edo literati, a close association of professionalstorytellers and authors of popular literature. The succeeding Meiji period(1868 – 1912) saw rakugo texts, both written and oral, transformed into atool of nationalization — an expression of both cultural centralization andthe diffusion of centralized culture. The popularity of rakugo influencedthe establishment of a "national" form of Japanese, based on the Tokyodialects. Rakugo texts even found their way into the state education system,as the new constitutional monarchy sought national integration throughmass literacy and moral education.In this chapter, I will examine the development of Edo rakugo anddiscuss the structural and thematic links between it and a variety ofhistorical narratives and literary genres. In discussing these latter, I willemploy the time-honored Japanese terminology, which frequentlyrepresents both analytic and "folk"/ethnic categories, and has thus becomethe center of a vigorous debate among contemporary scholars. However,even though these traditional terms may appear arbitrary, lacking both anobvious basis and consistent analytic criteria, they are valuable data inthemselves. They encapsulate the traditional paradigm, and thus offer aview of the structure of rakugo that seemed "obvious and natural" to thosewho were part of its historical development. They also demonstrate, onceagain, how free perspectives really are in the "natural" but culture-boundprocess of categorization.141. The Roots of RakugoRakugo and the Buddhist sermon traditionThe Law of the Buddha has been preached in Japan for nearlyfourteen hundred years, ever since it was first introduced in the sixthcentury AD. The Buddhist priest Ry6 KOsO (502-557) brought Chinesepreaching methods to Japan, methods that were ultimately rooted in thestyles of ancient India. These included vocal variations summed up as theshiben hachion "four modulations of fluency and eight pitches," and thepresentation of parables and karma tales.The techniques and themes of these preaching styles form the twinroot of contemporary rakugo. The earliest Buddhist missionaries employeda five-part sermon structure: (1) sandai, the introduction of a religiousexpression from the sutras; (2) hOsetsu, the exposition of the meaning ofthe expression employed; (3) hiyu, the parables which served to concretizeand contextualize the sandai -hOsetsu pair; (4) in'nen, using karma tales toreinforce the hiyu and further strengthen the impact of the sandai andhOsetsu, and finally (5) kekkan, a conclusion which leaves the listener in atranquil and accepting state of mind. Even at this high level of abstraction,unmistakable similarities can be detected between rakugo and Buddhistsermons. The introduction device known as a makura or "pillow" iscomparable to the sandai and hOsetsu which begin the sermon, though thecontemporary makura uses popular proverbs or trendy phrases rather thancanonical religious expressions. The comic devices used in the mainrakugo narrative, the kusuguri or "ticklers," are similar to hiyu and in'nen,15which often employed humor to induce audience participation. 2 Manyitems of rakugo jargon, such as the kOza "podium," as well as theconventional use of a fan, are derived from the sermon tradition.Furthermore, karma tales were the direct ancestors of an important rakugosubgenre called kaidan-banashi or "ghost stories" (Sekiyama 1973a: 103-105; cf. also 1978). 3For all this, the sermon tradition in Japan was shaped not only by themonks and missionaries who catered to the upper classes, but also by alower, broader, less refined but far more numerous array of travelingpreachers who spread stories promoting Buddhist ethical values. Whatthese lacked in doctrinal subtlety, they more than made up in mass appeal.These popularizers traveled over the country with a mission to spreadBuddhism to everyone, and to solicit contributions for pious purposes, suchas the Kijya-hzjiri to be discussed later. All of them functioned not only aspriests but also as entertainers, since preaching was a social event, arudimentary form of "mass media," whether the audience was a relativelyeducated group at court or large groups of the illiterate masses (Moriokaand Sasaki 1990: 211-213; Sekiyama 1973a: 59-80).2 Sekiyama (1973a: 105) notes that the traditional five-part sermon was hajimeshinmiri, naka okashiku, owari toutoku "solemn at first, funny in the middle, andholy at the end."3 Sekiyama (1978: 9-14) also points out that the performance hierarchy used bypreachers, zenza (curtain raiser), chaza (the middle one) and kamiza (the superiorone) is echoed in the rakugo tradition as zenza, futatsume (the second one), andshin' uchi (the star performer). Moreover, the strictly hierarchical, person-to-persontransmission of knowledge between the master preacher and his apprentices isparalleled by the similar master-apprentice relationship of the rakugo tradition.16The various types of secular entertainers also participated in thepopularization of the Buddhist religion. They generally lacked any formaltheological training, but through their exposure to Buddhist sermons andinteraction with traveling preachers, they adopted Buddhist motifs andconventions into their performances. Some of these entertainers were theheirs of ancient oral historians, transmitting material based on the pre-Buddhist Japanese world view, which was gradually harmonized with thenew faith through their efforts (Norioka 1968: 78, 212). 4By the Muromachi period (1392-1573), Buddhism had spread throughthe whole of Japanese society. It influenced not only the day to dayconduct of ordinary people, but also artistic standards at every level. Thelatter half of Muromachi was characterized by incessant civil wars, and itMany of these traveling entertainers were similar to the "minstrels" of medievalEurope, but there were also some who were ethnically distinct from the peasantryand therefore regarded as social outcasts — analogous to the gypsies of Europe.This may be rooted in the ethnic plurality of ancient Japan, the often-discussedcontrast between the JOrnon and Yayoi peoples. It is often suggested that theoriginal inhabitants, the nomadic JOmon peoples, continued to maintain theirunsettled way of life after the invasion of the Yayoi from mainland Asia, though astime went by they were increasingly dispersed. According to this theory, theseunder-classes were given many designations, including sanka, a term whose officialuse was banned as a result of the Buraku kaihi3 undo, the Movement for LiberatingCommunities of Social Outcasts after the Second World War. GotO (1989: 1-17),for example, points out the similarities between sanka and European gypsies, bothof which groups made their livings producing and selling crafts and entertainment,spreading folklore tales as they traveled. Norioka (1968: 115) also discusses thevarious nomadic cultural groups in south-western Japan who had distinct religiousperspectives, and who excelled in music, story-telling, and performance arts priorto their encounter with Buddhism and other powerful spiritual movements.17was then that the regional warlords began to employ professionalstorytellers from a number of different occupational backgrounds. Thesewere referred to as otogisha, or "official entertainers." The core of theotogisha consisted of trained preachers and masters of tea ceremony (itselfinseparable from Zen Buddhism), as well as the best-known of theperformance artists associated with temples and shrines.The stories which formed the material for the otogisha were set downbetween the eighth and the early seventeenth century, to form a genrebroadly referred to as setsuwa bungaku. 5 "Setsu" means to say or explain,and "wa" means words or story. Setsuwa bungaku includes both Buddhistexemplary tales, and secular pieces such as myths, legends, fairy tales,epics, and local folk stories, which often shared features with the Buddhiststories. It can be classified into several groups, which will be discussedbelow in rough chronological order: In this section, I will examine thesenarrative genres as they relate to the sermon tradition, and point out theirstructural and thematic contributions to contemporary rakugo.The actual term setsuwa bungaku did not appear until the early twentieth century,when it was created out of a concern, particularly among scholars of Japanesenational literature, to legitimize their scholarly interest in this genre (Sekiyama1973a: 93-98; Nishio 1980: 19-20).18Ancient Oral History6The best-known early setsuwa are the Kojiki and the Nihonshoki,histories of ancient Japan compiled on the basis of orally transmittedmaterial, finished in 712 A.D. and 720 A.D. respectively. There were alsomany other attempts, less well known, to set down the oral histories ofvarious regions in documents called fudoki. The motivation for writingthese histories, both national and regional, was the strong imperial effort toexpand and integrate the country through military invasion and culturalassimilation (Ienaga 1987: 27).Many episodes in the historical literature give folk etymologies ofpersonal and place names. Here in particular we find an abundance oforally-based rhetorical devices reminiscent of those in contemporaryrakugo — puns, tongue twisters, nonsense songs, and scraps of undoubtedpoetry, various metrical devices for versification, and elaborate punch lineswhich combine several of these techniques for increased effect (cf.Morioka and Sasaki 1990: 8, Sekiyama 1973a: 95).Although little is known about the nature of oral tradition in Japanprior to the introduction of Buddhism and its elaborate sermon tradition, it6 The Japanese counterparts to the historical categories "ancient" and "medieval" areas follows: kodai (ancient) is from the 4th century A.D. to late 12th century, fromthe establishment of the Yamato Imperial Court to the end of the Heian period;chasei (medieval) is from late 12th century to the early 14th century, from theKamakura period to the Azuchi Momoyama period. The term chako (medieval) isalso used by scholars of Japanese literature to designate the Heian period. In thebroadest sense, "modern" (kinsei) in Japanese history begins with the Edo period inthe seventeenth century (Shinmura 1983: 655-657, 873, 1559, 1562).19is clear that there were storytelling specialists and oral historians calledkataribe as early as the fourth century AD. These kataribe were employedby the Imperial Court (Sekiyama 1973b 67-69); and as mentioned earlier,their followers became traveling entertainers whose performances had areligious dimension. Unfortunately, almost nothing is known about theindigenous secular oral tradition during the thousand years which separatesthe first mention of the kataribe and the emergence of otogishii in thefourteenth century (Sekiyama 1973a: 100). 7Buddhist Exemplary TalesBecause of the strong imperial promotion of Buddhism, the Heianperiod (794-1191) produced numerous religious texts. Since the impetusfor expansion came from the top down, the audience for the Buddhistsermons based on exemplary tales was usually composed largely of courtnobles and their followers up to the thirteenth century. These sermons wereboth entertaining and ecclesiastically informative. The oldest knowncollection is Nihon reiiki (or ryiiiki), compiled in 822 by a priest namedKeikai (or KyRai) of the Yakushi-ji temple in Nara. Although hisaudience was predominantly upper class, the stories he used for hissermons originated in folklore current amongst the commoners andThis is partly because of the general lack of scholarly attention to ancient oraltradition. More trouble has been created by traditional literary and/or folkloricinquiry into "oral tradition," since it tended to overlook numerous "oral" means ofesthetic and/or knowledge representation which happened to overlap with othermajor analytical categories (such as music, dance, puppetry, ceremonial event,ritual, chant, act of teaching, and so forth), neglecting the fact that stories andknowledge circulate under a number of different guises in an oral culture(Sekiyama 1973b: 69, see also Hoff 1978 preface).20exemplary tales spread by traveling missionaries, most notably the ICOya-hijiri, the semi-secular preachers affiliated with the Temple of Mount KOyain Wakayama prefecture. 8Contemporary rakugo still retains some features from the material inthe Nihon reiiki.9 This collection includes 116 miraculous stories, whichhave the usual structure of the ancient Japanese sermon — the five-partarrangement discussed earlier, similar to that of rakugo. The stories in theNihon reiiki shares motifs with rakugo as well. Morioka and Sasaki discuss8 The Temple of Mount KOya is a lay term for the KongO-buji on Mount KOya,established in 816 by Kilkai, the founder of the Shingon sect of Buddhism in Japan.KOya-hijiri were trained in the KongO-buji for the religious education of localpeople, and to solicit contributions for pious purposes (Shinmura 1983: 825). KOya-htfiri are only one of a number of different types of traveling "entertainers" withsemi-religious functions: seimonIshOmon-shi, shOc16-shi, sasara, sekkyO, kanjin-shi,ongyoku-dO and so forth. Sekky6, however, has become the accepted collectivereference for this group.Muroki (1970: 44, 281) discusses the significance of kOya-hijiri in some ballads ofmedieval Japan such as "Kamata" and "Karukaya," both of which entered the Nohrepertoire . Sekiyama notes the intimate connection between kOya-hijiri and theNihon reiiki: the copies of the Nihon reiiki known as the kOya-bon , or "kOya-version," were passed down in the temples of the Shingon sect (1978: 49).9 Morioka and Sasaki discuss the relation between the Nihon reiiki and the Uchigikisha, Uji shai monogatari and Konjyaku monogatari sha thus: "the function of theNihon ryOiki as an exemplar handbook for preachers was carried on in the Uchigikisha of the first half of the twelfth century. The Uchigiki sha has become importantin recent years in connections with studies on the relationship between two setsuwatale collections which are believed to be the prototype of rakugo narration: theKonjyaku monogatari sha and the Uji shai monogatari. Twenty two of the 27stories in the Uchigiki sha bear a similarity to items in the Konjyaku monogatarisha as do 9 items in the Uji shed monogatari." (Morioka and Sasaki 1990: 214)21the similarity between the rakugo story "Nozarashi" ("Weather-beatenskull") and two stories from the Nihon reiiki, which forms a good exampleof the borrowings at work here.w"Nozarashi" embodies an important Buddhist moral principle, juonhOon, which means, "if one receives kindness, one must repay it withkindness." In a typical "Nozarashi" a man goes fishing and finds a weather-beaten skull. He offers a poem and some sake to it, and returns home. Thatnight, a beautiful female ghost visits his place to repay his benevolence.Upon hearing about this, one of his neighbors goes fishing to find a skull ofhis own. He finds a piece of skull, pours sake over it, and tells it where helives. A professional jester who happens to be eavesdropping mistakenlybelieves that the man is arranging a secret date, and follows him out ofcuriosity. When night comes, the jester visits the man's place and starts hisperformance. The man asks who he is, and he replies that he is a taiko-mochi, "jester" or "the one that carries the drum." Then, the man realizesthat the skull he found at the beach was a horse skull, for the jester's drumsare made with horse leather (Yano 1989: 220).10 The motif of a man finding a skull that then speaks to him in a dream is very old,deriving originally from ancient Chinese philosophy. In the Zhuangzi [fourthcentury BC], chapter 18, there is a tale of how the Daoist master Zhuangzi finds askull, addresses a series of rhetorical questions to it, and finally uses it for a pillowwhen he goes to sleep. He is visited by the spirit of the skull in a dream, whichdescribes for him how delightful the world of the dead is (Graham 1981: 124-125).It is quite possible that this was the ultimate source for the "Nozarashi" stories,especially since the themes of the Zhuangzi had made it a favorite among earlyChinese Buddhist monks such as Seng-zhao (lived 384-414; Fung 1983: 258-259,269).22In Nihon reiiki 1:12, a traveling monk sees a weather-beaten skullwhen passing through a valley. He has his attendant place it on a tree andintones a prayer for the repose of the soul of the deceased. On New Year'sEve, the time that the souls of the dead visit their families, the soul of theskull assumes the disguise of a man, comes to the temple where the monklives, takes the attendant home with him, and entertains him with anabundance of food and drink. Similarly in Nihon reiiki 111:27, a travelerpulls out a bamboo shoot growing up through the eye socket of a weather-beaten skull, and is repaid by its soul (Morioka and Sasaki 1990: 213)."The compilation of these religious setsuwa occurred at the same timeas two important developments in popular sermonizing: Hokke hakkO, the"Eight Lotus Sermons," and the mandala preaching known as etoki.Hokke hakkO were first given in 796 for the members of the ImperialCourt. By the latter part of the Heian period their audience had expanded toinclude common people (Sekiyama 1978: 50-58):11 Morioka and Sasaki discuss a common fox motif: "A fox sometimes appears on therakugo stage in the disguise of a beautiful woman who becomes a faithful wife tosomebody, as, for instance, in Hakami, 'A Visit to the Grave.' Such a story is toldin Nihon ryOiki, 1:2, 'On Taking a Fox as a Wife and Bringing Forth a Child.' Aman who is in search of a good wife meets a pretty and responsive girl and takesher as his wife. Soon she gives birth to a boy. One day a fiercely barking dogchases the woman. Terrified, she betrays her husband, who is deeply in love withher. The story is told as an 'origin' tale of the word kitsune (fox). By arbitrarysyllable splitting kitsune looks as though it might be derived from kitsu-ne,meaning 'come and sleep (with me),' or from ki-tsune t , meaning 'comealways (to me)!' Both 'etymologies' would fit perfectly into a rakugo gag"( Morioka and Sasaki 1990: 212-213).23Renowned preachers of Kyoto and the surroundings illustratedthe Lotus Sutra (Hokke; Sanskrit Saddharma-pundarika) incycles of eight sermons. The preachers were called kOji (=klishi),and they spoke from an elevated podium (kOza), which greatlyresembled the stage setting of a modern kOdan or rakugoperformance. During mid-Heian (eleventh century), manytemples and even Shinto shrines imitated the gohakkyO of thecourt and competed in gathering the people for semi-annualevents with sermons, narrations and entertainment (Morioka andSasaki 1990: 213).In retrospect, the Hokke hakkO were an important step in the direction ofprofessional rakugo performances.At the same time, another common genre of religious performancewas flourishing: etoki, or mandala preaching. E means "picture" — in thiscase, a religious picture or mandala — and "toki" means explanation. Thepreachers displayed pictures of Heaven and Hell and explained theconsequences of one's good or bad conduct on earth. Etoki were performedwidely by the traveling preachers and entertainers, wherever a crowd couldbe gathered: at street corners, in temples and shrines, or near the inns andentertainment districts (Sekiyama 1973a: 106, 1978: 87).The source material for etoki was drawn from the 016 yOsha(Collection of Essentials for Rebirth in Amida's Pure Land), compiled byGenshin (942-1017; Morioka and Sasaki: 214). The vivid description ofHell and Heaven by means of etoki was such an emotionally powerfulmethod of spreading Buddhist moral values and the doctrine of rewardsand punishment that it captured the imagination of many visual,performance and literary artists during later times. In rakugo, etoki24developed into the parodies entitled "Jigoku meguri" ("Traveling throughHell") and "Gokuraku meguri" ("Traveling through Heaven"). In these, aperformer gives a vivid description of Hell or Heaven through the eyes of ahumorist who fmds a funny side to everything that he sees.The Kamakura period (1192-1333) saw Buddhism extend itselfthroughout Japanese society, with the appearance of its two most importantpopularizers, H8nen (1133-1212), the founder of the J8do sect, and Shinran(1173-1262), the founder of the Monto sect. Their disciples founded aprosperous sermon school at Agui Temple in Kyoto. Right up to the MeijiRestoration, this school provided models for sermon performances,including the most elaborate form of popular Buddhist preaching, thefushidan sekky6 or "melodious preaching" 12 (Morioka and Sasaki 1990:214-215, Sekiyama 1973a: 81-82).Through the efforts of Agui preachers, the JOdo and Monto sectsspread quickly through the lower levels of society. Apart from theprofessional preachers, monks, nuns, and even lay persons engaged in tsujiseppO, or "street preaching." A collection of such sermons inspired by theAgui school was compiled by Mujo Ichinen, whose preaching transcendedsectarian boundaries. This collection, the Shaseki still (Collection of Sand12 In the middle of the thirteenth century, another sermon school, the Miidera-ha,arose to compete with the Agui school. "Contrary to the vehement appeal andquick-wittedness of the Agui school, Miidera stressed insistent and patientpersuasion and developed a refined style of ballad-like jOruri recitation. In theseventeenth century, the Miidera school declined and finally merged into the Aguischool." (Morioka and Sasaki 1990: 215)25and Pebbles) was written in the vernacular language of the common people(Morioka and Sasaki 1990: 216). 13Though MujO Ichinen is seldom given a place in the pedigree ofrakugo, Morioka and Sasaki points out that many of his exemplary talesmay have been utilized in one way or another. For example, the humoroustechnique in Ichinen's story "Nun's Name" is echoed in the rakugo long-name story "Jugemu" ("Eternal Happiness"). In "Nun's name," a womanreceives an absurdly long name upon entering religious orders, made up ofthe names of many different gods and Buddhas. In "Jugemu," the parentsalso give their son a lengthy name made up of all the lucky terms they canthink of, with the hope that he will have a long and happy life. However, itturns out that his long name causes him nothing but trouble (Morioka andSasaki 1990: 216).Other Setsuwa Literature of the Heian PeriodThe Heian Period also produced a number of anonymous compilationsof setsuwa literature, legendary tales such as the Taketori monogatari (TheTale of the Bamboo Princess), the Wished monogatari (Tales from Uji),and the Konjyaku monogatari (Tales From Long Ago). 14 These oftencontain episodes which speak of Buddhist priests and their preaching, aswell as influences from the sermon tradition (Morioka and Sasaki 1990:218). For example, the Konjyaku monogatari sha contains several13 Shaseki sha is also pronounced "saseki sha."'14 There is also a subgenre of Heian setsuwa literature known as uta-monogatari(stories interwoven with verses), one example being the Ise monogatari (The Taleof Ise).26miraculous episodes analogous to the religious tales in the Nihon reiiki.Included is the gruesome tale of the tapeworm woman, which appears tohave been the inspiration for the rakugo story, "Soba no haori" ("The haorijacket for buckwheat noodles").In the tale of the tapeworm woman, a woman who had a tapewormbecomes pregnant and gives birth to a baby boy. When the boy grows up,he is appointed Governor of Shinano. On his way to Shinano, he iswelcomed by the local people, who serve him dinner. All the dishes aredressed with walnuts, a local delicacy. But when the Governor sees thewalnuts he feels uneasy and wriggles like a worm in pain — for in fact, heis the offspring of a human being and a tapeworm, and walnuts are avermifuge in traditional medicine. Finally, he melts away after taking a sipof walnut-flavored sake. In "Soba no haori," a man consumes a largequantity of buckwheat noodles and then takes a dose of a medicinal herb toaid his digestion. He melts away, leaving his haori jacket sitting around apile of noodles (Koten Rakugo Hyakkasen: 1989: 220-222; Morioka andSasaki 1990: 225)Apart from these occasional similarities in theme and development,the stories found in setsuwa literature characteristically display the openingconventions of later rakugo, such as the use of "ima wa mukashi" ("onceupon a time"), or "mukashi am otoko ga" ("once there was a man who"), aswell as an abundant use of what would later become the conventionalclosing, the humorous punch line that still characterizes present-dayrakugo. These structural conventions are likely to have been the everydaytools of professional storytellers, indicating that this literature might have27served as source material for priests at court and traveling preachers alike(Sekiyama 1973a: 65-67).Since the language of the Konjaku monogatari and Uji shaimonogatari is vigorous and colloquial, very close to that of oral literature,these books were a handy source of topics for rakugo performers when thegenre fully emerged in the Edo period. The first generations of professionalrakugo performers held the Uji shai monogatari in very high esteem. UteiEnba (1743-1822), an important satirist-storyteller-writer, often presentedone of its tales at the beginning of his narrative performance. When publicstorytelling was restricted by the Tokugawa government in 1794, hecamouflaged his activities by renaming them "Readings of the Uji shaimonogatari," since setsuwa tales were not affected by the governmentrestrictions. Again, in 1817, a storyteller named AsanebO Muraku 1 15announced a storytelling contest under the pretext of "an exhibition ofpaintings and the reading of tales from the Uji shai monogatari" (Moriokaand Sasaki 1990: 217-218).Thanks to these performers, present-day rakugo has a large overlapwith the Konjyaku monogatari and Uji shai monogatari. Several importantfeatures of rakugo stories, such as the conventionalized name of the jester(which ends in -roku, as in "Throku" or "Hikoroku"); a number ofeccentric character types; and the Guardian proprietor, who takes the formof an animal such as an uwabami "big serpent," fox, or badger are all foundin either or both of these two works (Morioka and Sasaki 1990: 219-228).15 Names of performers are frequently reused, leading to their being numbered likeroyal appelations in European countries.28Setsuwa Literature During and After the Muromachi PeriodPopular sermon activities and the contribution of lay people tosetsuwa literature both continued during the Muromachi period (1392-1573). However, the latter half of Muromachi, known as the Age of theWarring States, saw a significant fusion of the secular and religiousnarrative traditions, which resulted in a large production of popular shortstory collections. These anthologies are commonly called otogizbshi today,after the title of the 23 Muromachi period stories selected and reprinted byan Osaka publisher in early Edo (Roch 1980: 182). 16While it is likely that many of these short stories were orally spread bya large variety of traveling entertainers (whose ranks were swollen byunemployed warriors, craftsmen and landless peasants as the wars createdsocial and economic chaos), 17 they also formed the stock in trade of thewell-respected storytelling experts hired by military leaders, known as16 Otogithshi is no more than a general designation given to the various collections ofshort stories which appeared in the Muromachi period. The definition of the termotogithshi has been as controversial as the identities of their compilers (cf. ashima1968).17 Toyota discusses the socio-cultural context behind the emergence of otogisha.. Theprolonged civil wars destroyed the traditional social order, resulting in thephenomenon known as gekokujO, the overthrow of superiors by inferiors (gemeans "low/inferior," jO means "high/superior,'" and koku means "to take controlover." Warrior status could be easily obtained by any male willing to fight for aclan; and any warrior could in theory become a lord, given sufficient wisdom, skill,and luck. This gekokuj 6 spirit influenced the creation of popular legends and mythsjustifying achieved rather than ascribed social status, as well as their counterpart,tales expressing the pathos of a hero's loss of power and status (Toyoda 1980).29otogisha. 18 As we mentioned above, the otogisha came from a diverseoccupational and social background. They not only served as entertainer-educators for the lords and warriors but often worked as spies, gatheringinformation on enemies under the cover of their ordinary occupation(Sekiyama 1973a: 100-101). 19After the end of the civil war, when the Japanese state was reunited,most of these otogishu were deprived of their previous source ofemployment. They and their successors perforce became publicentertainers, the performers of what would develop into rakugo and othernarrative arts. In the seventeenth century, they began to compile handbooksof favorite stories. This genre of literature, commonly dubbed kanathshi, 20was circulated relatively widely, thanks to woodblock and copperplateprinting.It was evidently under the influence of kanathshi that AnrakuanSakuden wrote his eight-volume Seisuish6 (Laughs That Shake Off Sleep;18 Togi means "to narrate" and/or "to contribute a partnership"; sha means "group";and o- is an honorific indicating the person's status.19 Sekiyama points out the important place masters of tea ceremony occupied amongthe otogisha For example, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who eventually succeeded inconquering the country, had many renowned masters as his otogisha, includingSen no Rikyil. The tea ceremony was then inseparable from the practice of cha-banashi, or "stories to accompany tea." Expert tea masters were all well versed instorytelling, which was seen as a necessary part of their hospitality (Sekiyama1973a: 101-102).20 KanazOshi were written in the plain kana syllabary without the use of Chinesecharacters, and thus could even be read by a child (Shinmura 1983: 478).30Muth 1971). Sakuden21 was a priest of the Jodo sect affiliated with theAgui school, at the same time as he was a master of the tea ceremony whoserved Toyotomi Hideyoshi as one of his otogishet. The SeisuishO quotesor alludes to numerous setsuwa stories and exemplary tales of differenttime period, demonstrating how widely read its author was in these formsof literature. 22Sakuden made at least one significant structural contribution to thedevelopment of rakugo. This was the recognition and elaboration of anending technique known as ochi (or sage, meaning "fall" or "drop"), thepoint made by the short concluding statement. His contribution gave rise tothe term otoshi-banashi, "stories with ochi," which are direct ancestors ofrakugo. In fact, the ochi has become the most important structural featureof rakugo today, since it forms the ending of the typical rakugo narration.Although the SeisuishO was sermon literature, it became widely readby later rakugo performers. Santo KyMen, a well-known writer of the lateEdo period, for example, recognized Sakuden as an expert rakugo narrator.Even today, many of the stories from the SeisuishO are used by the rakugoperformers in largely unchanged form. According to Morioka and Sasaki21 In referring to important storytellers, I prefer to use their first names. First, this isthe normal practice among Japanese scholars. Second, the individual's uniqueidentities is highlighted by his individualistic first name — the last name oftenindicates his lineage.22 Sekiyama (1973a: 118) lists Konjyaku monogatari, Makurano sOshi, Ujidainagonmonogatari, Ujishai monogatari, Kokon Chomon sha, KyOgen, and Otogi-thshi, aswell as religious texts such as Gen Kylisyoku sho, Saseki sha, and SeppO Meiganron .31(1990: 229), about thirty stories from the SeisuishO reappear, wholly orpartially, in present-day rakugo .One of these is the short story "Hirabayashi" V-44 ("Flat forest"). Inthis story, Sakuden mocks the over-learnedness of a priest, and at the sametime makes fun of his own secular surname, Hirabayashi. Hirabayashi iswritten with two simple Chinese characters, and lit The character .Tcan be read hira, taira, hei, or hy/3, and its components are —, A, and -F.can be read ichi or hitotsu, both meaning "one" or "single." A can beread hachi or yatsu, meaning "eight." ÷ can be read to or fa, meaning"ten." As for 14, it can be read hayashi or rin, and its components are two* , which are read boku, moku, or ki, meaning "tree." In "Hirabayashi," aletter is addressed to someone called Hirabayashi. The boy who has todeliver the letter asks a priest how to pronounce the name, which he cannotread. The priest promptly gives every possible pronunciation: "HyOrin,""Heirin," "Tairarin," "Hirarin," "Ichi-hachi-jti-no-moku-moku," or finally,the correct "Hirabayashi" (Morioka and Sasaki 1990: 230, see alsoSekiyama 1973: 110-119).2. The Formation of Edo RakugoThe formation of rakugo went hand in hand with the emergence of astrong chonin culture in the town of Edo. Both were steady processes, andboth took some time to complete.The evolution of Edo rakugo saw it pass through three stages tobecome a commercial theatrical art. The first was the appearance ofprofessional street storytellers. This was followed by the popularity of32hanashi no kai, or "storytelling gatherings," put on by literary-mindedsemi-professional storytellers. Finally, there was the popularization ofcommercial performances of otoshi-banashi, and consequently the buildingof communal variety halls called yose (Enomoto 1984: 21). Since all threestages are part of the more general historical development towards Edochonin culture, I shall begin by providing a brief account of Edo cultureand society.Edo chonin: the Influence of the Periphery over the CoreIn 1603, Tokugawa Ieyasu established the center of his feudalgovernment in the town of Edo, where his successors ruled for the next twohundred and sixty years. This political stability owed much to the laws andpolicies established by the Tokugawa government, including theirisolationism. However, the Tokugawa was also an era of competitionbetween the south-central urban centers (Kyoto, the traditional capital, andOsaka, the merchant's town) and Edo, which had had a meager populationin the early seventeenth century.The Tokugawa government's laws and policies to strengthen andstabilize its institutional foundations relied heavily upon a capacity topromote Edo as the bureaucratic, educational, commercial, and linguisticheart of the country. 23 Of course, this process of urbanization andcentralization required a massive migration of the population from all23 Nagai discusses the linguistic diversity and cultural complexity of Edo. In additionto the traditional diglossia between the written and spoken languages, social andregional dialects, gender-related, and occupation-related languages all rapidlyappeared as the town expanded (Nagai 1971a: 59-60).33regions, with diverse socio-economic backgrounds. After this processbegan, Edo began to assert its own heterogeneous and pragmatic urbanidentity, generated by those who considered themselves Edokko, or"genuine Edo urbanites," who formed strong aesthetic, ideological, andcommercial networks transcending the feudal caste (cf. Hino 1976, Ienaga1987: 135-157, Nagai 1971a: 59).The Tokugawa government established many strict laws and policiesto sustain its power and influence. Here, we will touch on the three bestknown: the establishment of the feudal caste system, the promotion of neo-Confucianism, and the compulsory system of sankin-kOtai, a daimyO'salternate-year residence in Edo.As we have remarked, the lengthy civil wars encouraged people toaspire towards a better life and upward social mobility. In order to preventfurther rebellions and stifle political competition, the Tokugawagovernment restored the feudal caste system, with warriors highest andfarmers, artisans, and merchants below them, merchants the lowest of all(Ienaga 1987: 123-124). 24 This hierarchy was justified through a variety of24 One should note that the warriors were of commoner origin, not noble (cf. note 17to this chapter). Thus this caste is a somewhat artificial one, based less upon itsmembers' antecedents (if so, then most warriors would have been farmers) butmore upon loyalty to the system of politico-economic organization, analogous tothe company-system of present-day Japan. The irony of this system was that thewarriors' cultural inferiority to the merchants was built into it. The new warriorclass elites lacked the "noble" manner of life — they lacked proper education(many of them were self-taught), esprit, and aesthetic taste. These powerful"country bumpkins" studied the "high" culture with the masters of tea ceremony,the intelligentsia of the merchant class. Merchants from the town of Sakai were34moral teachings, particularly the neo-Confucianism adopted by theTokugawa government as its ethical framework. 25 This arrangementdemonstrated considerable strategic ingenuity: the farmers, the least socio-economically advantaged group, were peacefully incorporated into thenational economy; and the merchants, the most economically advantaged,were assigned the lowest rank and were therefore subjected to the mostonerous social regulations. However, in the expanding town of Edo, thesystem did not prove to be as effective as it was elsewhere. Skilledcraftsmen and merchants migrated from all over Japan to Edo, andgradually acquired a high degree of economic independence asentrepreneurs, vital suppliers of goods and services to the warrior class. 26especially respected, since Sakai was kept out of the war to protect the personalwealth and productive capacity found there — the Switzerland of medieval Japan!25 In China a similar four-part system goes back very early, except that there, the fourrankings are scholar, peasant, craftsman, and merchant, with fighting men notmentioned at all. In each country, the group responsible for propagating theideology put itself in the highest place.Although it is appropriate to regard Confucianism as a philosophical school ratherthan a religion, it is also important to note that Confucianism came to Japan fromChina in the 6th century, together with Buddhism; and before its promotion in Edoperiod, it had been studied by Zen priests (Ienaga 1987: 21, 139). Ooms (1985)points out that the enforcement of feudal morals during early Edo was done throughBuddhism and Shintoism as well as Confucianism.26 Such economic independence owed much to the completeness and complexitymade possible by the exceptionally high population concentration in downtownEdo. In the late 18th century, the population of Edo reached one million. About50% was warrior class, who resided in the upper town, and the rest were merchantsand craftsmen in the lower town (Nishiyama 1981).35Another way in which the Tokugawa government sought to throttleany political competition at birth was the system of sankin -kOtai. This wasthe obligation of each regional lord to reside in Edo every other year; thatis, for one year out of every three. Sankin -kOtai was an effective controlmechanism for two reasons. First, the lord's periodic physical absence fromhis governing region weakened his powers of immediate decision-making,reducing efficiency and causing local problems to pile up for him to dealwith later. Second, it imposed a great financial burden upon the lords, whowere responsible for paying for their retinue in Edo, as well as the costs ofthe journey there and back, which had to be managed in appropriate (andexpensive) style.Although the sankin -kOtai system succeeded for a long time inpreventing any accumulation of bureaucratic or economic power in thelocal clans, it ironically brought about a corresponding concentration ofeconomic and cultural power among the townspeople in Edo. Because mostof the warriors in Edo were not native to the city, the local merchants andartisans came to have far deeper roots in the region than the warriors. Overthe generations many merchants emerged as proprietors of long-establishedstores with brand-name products. Many craftsmen, too, began to operatelarge-scale establishments, including ones devoted to printing andpublishing. Thanks to the evolution of this spirit of entrepreneurship, suchmerchants and craftsmen came to posses a conscious collective identity asEdo urbanites, or Edokko, by the latter half of the Edo period (Hino1976:157). Many disillusioned, unemployed, or bankrupt warriors joined this36emerging cultural group, often completely abandoning their formercareers.27By the beginning of the nineteenth century, wealthy merchants wereable to purchase nearly all the goods and services that a warrior mightpossess — the education, lifestyle, entertainment, weaponry, and even thefinancial assets of the feudal lords (Nishiyama 1981). Heartened by sucheconomic strength, the townspeople invested in and developed their ownmeans of artistic expression, such as kabuki, kyligen, satirical andhumorous poems, and many verbal arts genres, including otoshi-banashi.Such arts reflected the distinct world view of the townspeople, whosevalues were epitomized by two concepts, tsu and iki. Tsu means expertise,especially in secular matters, and iki means stylishness or chic. Theseconcepts and the lifestyle they informed were in direct opposition toConfucian doctrine, which taught people to look down on earthly pleasuresand unrestricted individual expression, and emphasized formality andtradition. The townspeople's culture was thus liberal in nature, and theotoshi - banashi and other art forms of Edo tended to reflect theuncompromising attitudes of the townspeople towards the ruling class(Nishiyama 1981). One example of this attitude is provided by thefollowing excerpt from a popular rakugo story, "Kubi-jOchin" ("A head27 For example, the Confucian doctrine was at first only of interest to the warriorclass, but later many lower-class townspeople came to study it. Some of the mostrepresentative thinkers of Edo period are of chOnin origin: Ito Jinsai, TominagaNakamoto, and Motoori Norinaga, for example (Ienaga 1987: 140-141).37lantern"), which uses the type of tanka, or "stylish caustic words" a chOninmight have hurled at a warrior :"...If I am afraid of samurai, I can't watch the battle plays.What? You've got two of those 'sticks' (= swords)? Don't youthink I know that? A broiled eel wears several sticks, even acheap baked tofu has two, you idiot! Well, maybe you've nevereaten such eel, hah!? Are you going to kill me with thoseswords? O.K., go ahead and cut me into pieces! (Tugs his clothesand shows his neck, arms and legs) you want my neck, or arm ormy ass? Slice me into pieces; I won't charge you if my bloodain't red, just like good watermelons are always red! Come now!(Ekuni 1978: 119, translation mine).The Development of Edo RakugoThe first notable step towards the formation of rakugo after Sakudenwas made by Shikano Buzaemon (1649-1697), the pioneer professionalstoryteller (in the modern sense) in Edo. Buzaemon gave indoorperformances (zashiki) to warriors and wealthy merchants. Since hisperformances employed gestures, shikata , borrowed from kabuki, his styleof storytelling came to be called Zashiki shikata banashi (Nobuhiro 1971:166). He also set up a marsh-reed shelter and told stories to the peoplepassing by in the street. Hence, his stories were also known as tsuji-banashi, or "street storytelling" (Enomoto 1984: 18-19, Morioka andSasaki 1990: 235).His narratives are collected in Shikano Buzaemon Kuden banashi (TheStories Orally Transmitted by Shikano Buzaemon) and Shikano Makifude38(Shikano' s Written Work). 28 Buzaemon was characterized by the use ofEdo vocabulary and dramatic plots in his stories, both of which becameprominent features of later classical rakugo (Morioka and Sasaki 1990:235). His works are some of the large number of humorous books producedin the late seventeenth century, called karukuchi -bon, or "light-mouthedbooks." The vast majority of the karukuchi -bon were produced by amateurstorytellers in Osaka, Kyoto and Edo, 29 who gathered to share the joy ofstorytelling. Many of them were inspired by professional performances bysuch figures as Buzaemon 30 (Muh 1971: 133).The next significant stage in the evolution of rakugo was marked bythe rise of hanashi no kai, or "storytelling-gatherings" in the mid-eighteenth century. The forerunner of this was the popular practice ofexchanging kyaka, satirical poems (Enomoto 1984: 20-21). Thus, the kyOkapoets were frequently expert storytellers as well.The most important promoter of such gatherings was Utei Enba, amaster carpenter, satiric poet, playwright, storyteller, and gesakusha, or awriter of popular fiction. 31 He held the first of his own storytelling contests28 Literally, his "scroll and pen" (maki means either "scroll," "roll," or "curl"; fudemeans "brush pen").29 Seventy to eighty percent of the karukuchi -bon were produced in Kyoto and Osaka(Muth: 137 ).30 Street storytellers appeared in Osaka and Kyoto about the same time as Buzaemonin Edo: Yonezawa Hikohachi in Osaka, and Tsuyuno Gorobei in Kyoto (Moriokaand Sasaki 1990: 234).31 He was one of the most important literary figures of later Edo, along with OtaNanpo, a gesaku writer/literary critic with the status of a government officer. Enba39in 1786, and the second two years later. After that he held monthlymeetings until 1792, when storytelling activities were restricted by thegovernment's Kansei reform. He then camouflaged his meetings as"readings of Ujishai monogatari," as already noted; but they were againsuspended by a government order in 1797. The results of these contestsbetween 1757 and 1797 were published in the collections Kibidango(Millet Dumplings), Kotoba no hana (Blossoms of Words), and Bujisla(Morioka and Sasaki 1990: 237, Nobuhiro 1967, 1969, 1971, 1986).Enba's books were but one contribution to a new and widelycirculated genre of popular literature called kobanashi-bon.32 Theemergence of kobanashi-bon is a watershed in the history of the Japanesepublishing industry. Earlier, most books had been published in Osaka orKyoto, but most kobanashi-bon were put out in Edo and then exported toother regions. Enba lived at the time when Edo was becoming the culturalcapital of Japan in fact as well as in name, with the chOnin culture buildingstrength. The kabuki theater was at its peak, and popular fiction in twosubgenres was widespread, share-bon , or "stylish fiction," and kokkei-bon"humorous fiction."33 The temple-based, private education system calledwas also a great fan of the kabuki actor Danjilro V. Enba organized Danjfiro's fanclub, called the "mimasu-ren" (mimasu means "to watch," or "three square-shapedmeasures," and ren, "group.") Enba made three square-shaped measures ^ thetrademark of his carpentry firm, conscious of its advertising effects (Nobuhiro1967: 442-445, 1971: 180-181, 1986: 2-107.).32 Kobanashi means "short narration," bon (hon) means "book."33 Share-hon described the world of red-light districts and earthly pleasures. After theKansei reform, the term kokkei-bon came to be used in place of share-hon, but bothtypes are similar in content (Shinmura 1983: 878, 1122).40terakoya, "temple-school," widened the access to literacy in Japanese andChinese among townspeople. In fact, many popular Chinese comic storieswere translated into Japanese about this time, while on the other hand therewere also attempts to translate Japanese comic stories into Chinese (forJapanese readers; Muth 1971: 138-142, Tanaka Y: 149-159).By this time, virtually everything that rakugo would need was inplace: basic structure, source books, potential practitioners and supporters,and context for the performances: everything but professional performersand regular theatrical performances. These final pieces in the puzzle wereto be supplied through the popularity of otoshi-banashi in the later Edoperiod. Otoshi-banashi then became one of the most vital means ofgenerating and defining the norms of chOnin culture, because itscommunal variety halls, the yose, were universally accessible. The yosewere sometimes situated in special buildings, but more often they wereaccommodated by temporary conversion of a workshop, operating only inthe evenings. By the early nineteenth century, the number of yose in Edohad exceeded one hundred by the most conservative estimate. 34The founder of the yose in Edo was SanshOtei Karaku (1777-1833), aclose associate of Enba. 35 Karaku opened up a temporary theater at the34 The exact number of yose is unknown. However, it is commonly said that at thepeak of yose-based otoshi -banashi, at least one yose (of some kind) could be foundin every town district. There were supposed to be a total of 808 districts in Edo.35 SanshOtei Karaku restored Enba's storytelling gatherings in 1800. Before this,satiric poets had been the most active participants in the contest. Their roles werenow taken over by professional otoshi -banashi performers (Morioka and Sasaki1990: 237).41Shitaya Mari Shrine (in present-day Ueno) in 1798. However, he ranthrough his repertoire in five days and closed down. In spite of thisdisaster, Karaku decided to become a professional storyteller, investing allof his personal belongings in his professional future. After some years ofpractice in suburban areas, Karaku opened another yose at Shitaya. By1815, he had become not only a successful performer but also a busymanager of several different yose halls (Morioka and Sasaki 1990: 241).In order to keep his audience attentive, Karaku developed manyinteresting methods of contextualizing his narratives. The most notable wasthe instant creation of impromptu rakugo stories based on three topicssuggested by the audience. These were called sandai-banashi (three-topic-stories; Nobuhiro 1967: 446; 1986: 127-156). Sandai-banashi were longerthan the narrations (kobanashi) which had been performed at Enba'sstorytelling gatherings — rakugo narration was getting longer and moredramatically refined. It was to become an independent, and popular, genrea few decades later: literati near the end of the Edo period organizedsandai -banashi fan clubs to promote it and its most notable practitioners,such as Sanyatei EnchO (Okitsu 1979: 4142). 36 It was also during this timethat the genre of ninjO -banashi, tragi-comedy without a humorous ochi,was established (Morioka and Sasaki 1990: 241).36 After the big earthquake that hit Edo in 1855, the yose audience quality changeddrastically. Craftsmen, particularly carpenters, became regular patrons, since theypossessed the most needed and well-paid skills and services (to reconstruct thetown). This encouraged the inclusion of their favorite masculine stories such asthose pertaining to gambling, drinking, and red-light districts (Okitsu 1979: 55).42Karaku thus came to form the center of a literary-minded artistic circlemade up of storytellers, playwrights, novelists, and painters. His followersincluded many famed otoshi-banashi performers such as Ishii Stishuku andAsanebO Muraku (the founders of ninjO-banashi), Sanyiltei EnshO I (whoexcelled in shibai-banashi, adapted from kabuki stories), and HayashiyaShOzO I (who specialized in kaidan-banashi, or ghost stories; Morioka andSasaki 1990: 241). Shikitei Sanba, a famous novelist, based the first half ofhis novel Ukiyo Buro (In the Public Bath) on Karaku's otoshi-banashinarrations. Karaku himself wrote a kokkei-bon (humorous fictional book)entitled Kareki no Hana (The Blossoms of a Dried-Up Tree), as well asprinted collections of his own otoshi-banashi stories such as SanshOteiKaraku Jihitsu Kobanashi sha (Short Stories written By SanshOtei KarakuHimself) (Nobuhiro 1967, 1986; Okitsu 1979: 33). We can thus see that therigid distinction between oral literature and written literature assumed bymany modern scholars, and the destructive supremacy of the latter over theformer, does not appear to have affected the work of master storytellerslike Karaku and his associates. They switched from oral to written andback again, using whatever form was appropriate for the task at hand,without a noticeable impoverishment of either.3. Edo Rakugo in the Meiji PeriodIn 1868, the Edo feudal government and its official isolationist policywere brought to a close by an alliance of local military leaders from thesouthern island of Kyushu. The subsequent Meiji period was characterizedby a massive effort to import western values and commodities.Nationalism, democracy, capitalism, colonialism, mass-education and43industrialization were all introduced under the general rubric of"modernization," presented as a necessity for national survival. Theincreasingly grim fate of China at the hands of western imperialism servedas an object warning of what would happen if the effort faltered or failed.The organization and articulation of this effort seemed to require acommon linguistic medium, a standardized "national" language that couldbe publicly spoken, written, and taught, and understood by all. Such alanguage was only beginning to emerge in the early Meiji period. However,since the town of Edo continued to be the capital, under the new name ofTokyo, it was inevitable that such a national language would be based onthe languages found there. The question was, which form of Japanese wasmost widely shared by the residents of the city?Of all places, the answer was found in the yose, where two forms ofpopular public narration, rakugo and kOdan , or "historical narrative," wereregularly performed. These two forms constituted the only kowa, or "publicdiscourse" easily accessible to every level of Tokyo society, being in thisrespect somewhat similar to radio and television broadcasts today. Thus,rakugo came to play a vital role in the promotion of a uniform nationallanguage. In the following paragraphs, I will briefly examine rakugo'scontribution to the development of political oratory, modern literature, andpublic education during the Meiji period.Rakugo and Political OratoryThe relationship between early Meiji politicians and rakugoperformers was tense, but mutually dependent. While the politicians turned44to rakugo as an important public source of linguistic expression in Tokyo,they also exercised a strict control on yose activities. Thus rakugocontributed to the shaping of the modern political discourse, at the sametime that its expressive power was brought into a necessary conformity tothe new political establishment.The language situation in Tokyo at the beginning of Meiji waspluralistic. The population shift due to the termination of feudalism and thecivil war accelerated the traditional social and regional languagediversities: the old warrior class and many of the townspeople left the city,while the new political elites, intellectuals, and military officers fromSouthern regions flooded into it. Since the old warrior class had resided inthe upper town, yamanote, which was the preferred place of residence forthe new power-holders from outside, the uptown manner of speaking cameto be regarded as the most appropriate form for the standard language(Iwabuchi 1988: 84-85, Tanaka A. 1988: 6-9).However, upper town speech was not unified. Once again, it was afusion of social and regional language varieties, constantly influenced bythe language of the townspeople, lower town (shitamachi) speech,textualized in popular literature of all kinds. As more and more warriorclass residents had come to share the culture of the Edo townspeople inlater Edo, they had recognized esthetic value in lower town speech as well(Tobita 1988: 17-28). Thus when the new political elites came from thesouth, they were inevitably advised to attend the various forms of publicnarration given at yose theaters in the lower town to familiarize themselveswith urban culture. Only thus could they hope to adjust their political45rhetoric — the linguistic tool of modernization — to a form of discoursethat would make sense to Tokyo residents (Iwabuchi 1988: 91, TanakaA.1988: 6-9).This was when the actual term rakugo came to be used, instead ofotoshi-banashi: the new social environment encouraged the new term todemonstrate the political innocence of otoshi-banashi. 37 Thus, the much-banned otoshi-banashi became rakugo, the Chinese pronunciation of thesame characters. The Meiji restoration did not immediately bring greaterfreedom to the masses, and DajOkan, "the first Meiji Cabinet," treatednonconformists harshly. In 1872, the newly formed Ministry of ReligiousEducation requested that all educators, scholars, writers, actors, andstorytellers promulgate the spirit of kedij, "the Imperial Way," as laid downin the SanjO no kyOrnon, "the Three Charters of Education." During thefollowing two decades, restrictive edicts were repeatedly issued,accompanied by persistent police control of yose activities. Policeregulations used the Sino-Japanese reading, rakugo, which was the sourcefrom which it entered popular usage (Morioka and Sasaki 1990: 249-250).Rakugo and Modern LiteratureThe most difficult task that the Meiji language planners and educatorsfaced in the standardization of a national language was probably theunification of the spoken and written languages: the traditional diglossiawas seen as a serious obstacle to public literacy. This inspired the37 See Morioka and Sasaki for the repeated goverment restrictions on yose activitiesduring Edo and Meiji periods (Morioka and Sasaki 1990: 238-240, 248-252).46movement known as genbun itchi undo, or the unification of the spokenand written language, initiated by the new wave of literati in Tokyo seekinga fresh literary style (Iwabuchi 1988: 91, Morioka 1988: 45-53).This movement would have been much hindered without thecontribution from the professional storytellers, most notably SanyilteiEnch6 (1839-1900), the father of modern classical rakugo. The newliterati,38 who desired to create national literary works that could competewith Western literary works, believed that in "modern" ( = Western)nations, spoken and written languages were unified. In their attempts tocreate their own identity, they thus sought their model in Edo language andthe culture it expressed, especially the rakugo performed by Ench6(Morioka 1988: 47).Sanyiltei Ench6 was a Zen-trained professional storyteller whoexcelled in performing all subgenres of rakugo. He synthesized thedifferent elements of these genres into longer stores, which were muchmore dramatic and realistic, following the tradition of ninjO -banashi asopposed to otoshi - banashi (Sekiyama 1973a: 143-151). Thanks to theintroduction of stenography, his first transcribed work, Botan DOr6 (PeonyLantern) appeared in print in 1884. The oral style of Botan DOrO had anunexpectedly great influence upon the new literary circles. It was only twoyears later, in 1886, that the first novel written in colloquial style, Ukigumo38 The Meiji novelists who favored and used rakugo motifs and expressions includedsome of the representative writers of junbungaku, "pure literature" or "literature forliterature's sake," such as Natsume Sliseki and Shiga Naoya.47(Floating clouds) by Futabatei Shimei was published (Morioka and Sasaki1990: 255). 39Ench8 deserves to be regarded as one of the most prominent Meijiwriters, although he may not have physically "written" his books. To thisday, his collected works, which come to 13 volumes in all, are consideredliterary classics, ranked together with representative modern novels. Hispioneering contribution to the Japanese literary world also included theadaptations of western literary works. He was acquainted with manyscholars and intellectuals, who served as his source for information aboutforeign literature. Ench6 was thus able to learn the stories of a number ofWestern novels and literary works. He performed Japanese versions ofmany popular Western stories even before they had been translated intoJapanese and published in written form (Morioka and Sasaki 1990: 257,Nagai 1971b: 246).4039 Shimei frequently visited yose to study EnchO's work, and was not shy aboutexpressing his indebtedness (Ozaki 1989: 19). Many Meiji novelists were inspiredby favorite rakugo performers and stories. Natsume SOseki, for example, was agreat fan of Sanyiltei Enyil, and he used rakugo motifs in his novel Wagahai waneko de aru (I am a cat). Shiga Naoya admired the performances of the masterYanagiya Kosan III. Yoshida Isamu and Kubota Mantart) wrote a play and a novelout of their great admiration for Kokontei ShinshO IV and Yanagiya ("Blind")Kosen. During his youth, Nagai Kalil became an apprentice under Sansh6teiMuraku VII, and even appeared on stage until the day a family retainer happened toattend one of his performances "and he was led home by the ear" (Seidensticker1965: 11; Enomoto1971: 261).40 Morioka and Sasaki discuss the rivalry which existed between Ench8 and hisAustralian disciple, Kairakutei Black, the only foreigner who became a full-fledgedrakugo performer: "Like his master, Ench8, Black gained considerable popularity48In addition, the Meiji period also witnessed massive attempts topreserve rakugo and other narrative arts performances in written form,through the use of stenography. Rakugo texts were regularly published innewspapers and literary reviews, and there were several journals dedicatedto the collection of rakugo and other narrative arts, such as Hyakkaen,Hanakatami and Momochidori (Okitsu 1979: 200-201). 41 The availabilityof a large quantity of rakugo transcriptions enabled the later compilation ofan important guide booklet for rakugo performers. This was the Mukashibanashi moro moro (Old Tales of All Kinds), by the Yanagi school, one oftwo prominent modern schools concerned with the preservation of theartistic quality of rakugo (Morioka and Sasaki 1990: 263). 42through adaptations of popular Western novels, and a strong sense of rivalryexisted between the two. In quick succession, Black presented no fewer than 8Western romances and ninjO -banashi-like popular crime stories to his audiences.Black became the unchallenged authority on Western novels, and his narrationswere not only listened to attentively but were also widely read in book form. In1894, he presented Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist as Minashigo, 'The Orphan.' Inturn, in 1895, EnchO offered an adaptation of Guy de Maupassant's Un parricide(1882) as Meijin ChOji, 'Master Cabinet-Maker Cheiji.' These two rakugo artistswere the first to introduce Dickens and Maupassant to Japan" (Morioka and Sasaki1990: 257).41 These journals were widely circulated. For example, Hyakkaen, first published in1890, appeared twice a month and had a print run of 150,000 (Hino 1976: 22).42 This booklet listed 494 titles of stories which should be performed. It is also duringthe Meiji period that rakugo was canonized as "traditional" therefore to beconventionalized and preserved in the forms these schools considered it had beenduring the late Edo (cf. Morioka and Sasaki 1990: 261-263).49Rakugo and Public EducationEnchO's contribution to the national language was also recognized byeducators. The early Meiji period saw the establishment of a compulsoryeducation system, and by 1902, over ninety percent of primary-school-agechildren in Japan were attending public schools. 43 In Tokyo, six publicschools had been opened in 1889, with space for over fifty percent of theschool-age population. The primary aim of the public education was thepromotion of literacy, which was considered synonymous with thepromotion of a national language. The foundation for the all but universalliteracy in present-day Japan was thus laid in early Meiji. 44 Since thiseducation was implemented in parallel with the movement to unify thewritten and spoken languages, educators acknowledged the importance ofthe spoken form of Tokyo-based standard Japanese (Iwabuchi 1988: 85-59). This was one of the major reasons why EnchO's biographical work,Shiobara Tasuke Ichidai-ki (The Biography of Shiobara Tasuke) wasadapted for ethical education textbooks in 1892 (Nagai 1971b: 241). 4543 This figure reached 99.5 % by 1926 (Iwabuchi 1988: 85).44 We should note that private institutions such as the terakoya had already paved theway for the state's effort. This was especially true in Edo where many — perhapsup to fifty percent — of the townspeople acquired functional literacy. We shouldalso note that the written media such as newspapers, magazines, and journals werealready in a wide circulation in Edo before they were further expanded in Meijiperiod (Iwabuchi 1988: 85).45 Shiobara Tasuke Ichidai-ki was performed before the Meiji Emperor in 1892. Wemust understand, however, that this favorable attention was double-edged. EnchOas well as other narrative artists were considered educators and therefore weresubjected to the strict moral edicts issued by the Meiji government. EnchO's504. Post-Meiji rakugoThe popularity of rakugo has remained undiminished in the face oftwentieth-century communication technology and the new artistic media ithas spawned. The introduction of phonograph recordings, radio, andtelevision has had a generally positive effect, by expanding both the subjectmatter and the audience for rakugo. Edo rakugo, whose live yoseperformances were usually confined to the national capital and its suburbsduring the Edo period, has now become popular nationwide.Of course, not all modern influences have been good for rakugo. Thecompetition of the cinema, for example, which was quickly andenthusiastically adopted in Japan, drained audiences away from yosebeginning in the Taish6 period (1912-1925; Sekiyama 1973a: 169). Radioand television broadcasting have inflicted similar damage, even as theybrought rakugo to many who would never have heard it before. From timeto time, rakugo has been subjected to restrictive edicts by publicauthorities, which has occasionally forced modification of the forms andmessages utilized. Yet rakugo has managed to steer a middle coursebetween change and conservation, never letting one completely dominatethe other. As a result, it has been able to act both as the vehicle for a massof traditional culture and as an arena for tradition to negotiate its constantlyevolving compromises with modernity.Shiobara Tasuke Ichidai-ki proved to be an ethically exemplary tale (Ozaki 1989:13-17).5 1Chapter 3Rakugo today:Yose and the Urban Professional StorytellersTokyo. Approaching from the air, with its sky-high buildings, itstransportation network as complex and orderly as a spider's web, multi-layered highways feathering out into smaller and smaller roads and lanes— to foreign eyes Tokyo probably appears just another metropolis, albeita very large one. Yet should the visitor takes a closer look, its distinctcultural history can be seen everywhere. Tucked in between the grayconcrete motor roads there are narrow, shaded paths leading to mossytemples and shrines; among the towering buildings there are bridgesoverlooking the rivers that still carry old-fashioned boats lit with paperlanterns; and every now and then, people crowd the roads to thegraveyards with flowers, foods, and sake, to worship their ancestors. InTokyo, one can find every possible modulation of "modernity," exisitingside by side or mingled with a popular way of life unchanged for manycenturies.' Performance arts are no exception. 21 This passage (and some that will appear later) might be criticized as overly"nostalgic." However, I am in no way persuaded that the "past" that one sees inpresent-thy Tokyo (or Japan) is any better than the "present" or "modernity." What Iwish to bring over is its relative strength, the cultural tendency to retain the past whileaccepting newer developments. This forms a themetic parallal for the coexistence oforality and literacy in Japan.Some may grimace at the "Orientalist" flavour here, but it is a deliberate part of mydesign. Many still assume that there exist boundaries between "West" and "East,"political, cultural, or geographical, and to theoretically challenge that view, workinganthropologists must take it into account.5 2Walking down the main streets leading to the East Gate of ShinjukuStation, the center of activity for Tokyoites and tourists alike, you canfind nearly all forms of contemporary visual and performance art, fromthe latest North American, European and Japanese films, live jazz musicfrom New York, Los Angeles, or smaller centers, Broadway musicals andballet, down to street performance artists from all over the world. Yet, asyou move through the crowds in their colorful and stylish dress, pass thetall Alta building whose wall is a television screen, the six-storyKinokuniya bookstore, the MacDonald's and Shakey's outlets, movingtowards Shinjuku san -chOme, the Third Block of Shinjuku, you will comeupon a distinctly traditional theater — the Shinjuku Suehirotei. Its old-fashioned wooden exterior, and the calligraphy on wood and paper listingthe performers' names, stands in sharp contrast to the lavishly commercialsurroundings. This is one of several places in Tokyo where rakugo isperformed every day. The sound of the traditional drum occasionallyproclaims the theatre's presence to the passers-by, but for most of thetime, the yose remains quiet. But once you enter the theater, the silence isgone. The verbal broadsides of the performers await us should we step inunprepared — a novice audience can easily become the butt of their gagsand satirical remarks.This chapter has two parts. The first part is an examination of thepresent social position of rakugo in Tokyo. The second part is theethnographic account of a performance — the event which will be furtheranalyzed in the next chapter — done as a first person narrative.53Part 1: Contemporary Social NormsMethods of ResearchThe information presented below is primarily based on field researchconducted between July and mid-September 1992 in Tokyo. During thisperiod, I was graciously permitted to observe the performances andvarious yose activities at the Shinjuku Suehirotei. I also observed rakugoand other performances at other rakugo theaters; studied the backstageand extra-yose activities of the storytellers; and conducted interviews,both formal and casual, with storytellers, theater owners and employees,regular yose-goers, amateur performers, and rakugo experts. Thisinformation has been supplemented by literary data, as well as theethnographic knowledge on rakugo I have acquired as a native Japanese.1. PerformersAt present, there are over three hundred professional rakugostorytellers, hanashika, in Tokyo. Most of them are male: there are only ahandful of female hanashika. They can be classified into three groupsaccording to rank: zenza, futatsume, and shin'uchi.The first step in a rakugo career is to begin studying under a masterhanashika. A master hanashika belongs to one of the main hanashika"houses," nominal and stylistic lineages that go back for generations. Thenovice, once he or she has progressed far enough to be allowed to appearon stage, is called a zenza, or "curtain raiser." The age of a zenza istypically between fifteen and twenty-seven. Although it used to be5 4common for a zenza to live in his master's house, nowadays very few doso, primarily due to the modern preference for a more private andindividualistic home life (Irifunetei 1992). 3A zenza's performance responsibility is marginal: he or she is notexpected to be creative, or even particularly expert. During the severalyears hanashika spend as zenza, they are expected to learn the socialnorms operative in hanashika circles, by doing a variety of work for theirseniors. Futatsume, literally "the second one," is the rank between zenzaand shin'uchi, the full-fledged hanashika. A futatsume performs second,after the zenza, and his/her stage repertoire is expected to be larger. It isduring his or her time as a futatsume that a hanashika gradually becomesthe subject of artistic evaluation, as well as beginning to enjoy morepersonal freedom.Shin'uchi are hanashika who are judged to have reached artistic andpersonal maturity, capable of taking on the responsibility of being thefinal "star" performer of a yose programme. To become a shin'uchiusually takes ten to fifteen years of apprenticeship, during which timemany turn to other careers, primarily because of financial need. 43 It is also very difficult for a master hanashika to own a house in Tokyo that is largeenough to provide comfortable living space for a young apprentice. In 1990, onesquare meter of land in Tokyo cost an average of 854,000 yen, or approximately9000 Canadian dollars (Nihon no Mei: 1990: 203).4 About eighty percent of zenza today are university graduates, and thus capable oftaking up various part-time jobs that pay reasonably well. Still, many face financialdifficulties; others are supported by their parents. Futatsume often find jobs in the5 5Moreover, since there are nearly two hundred shin'uchi in Tokyo atpresent, the top ranks are marked by fierce competition, even for themere chance to appear regularly on the yose stages. Nevertheless, it is saidthat once a hanashika becomes a shin'uchi, he or she should no longer faceserious financial difficulties, especially after the receipt of someprestigious award, such as those given at the government-sponsoredGeijutusai "Fall Art Festival." There are, moreover, many jobopportunities available to them outside the yose, including various kindsof public speaking, instructing amateurs, and performing at smalltheaters.Changes in status are marked symbolically by changes in theperformer's name. A zenza's name is a light-hearted, personal appelation,usually without any allusion to famous hanashika of the past, while afutatsume and a shin'uchi take a more professional-sounding name,identical to or reminiscent of famous names that have appeared forgenerations. During his or her career, a hanashika has at least twodifferent names, a zenza name and a futatsume/shin'uchi name, but therecan be many more. The late Kokontei ShinshO, for example, changed hisname sixteen times (Anada 1989:177).Rakugo performers belong to one of four associations: the RakugoKylikai (Rakugo Association), the Rakugo Geijutsu KyOkai (Rakugo ArtAssociation), the Tatekawa-rya (Tatekawa School), or the RakugoEnraku-tO (Enraku Rakugo Faction). The Rakugo KyOkai (RK), headedmass media, as reporters, actors, comedians, and so forth, and have these as theirmain source of income.5 6by Yanagiya Kosan, is the largest hanashika association in Japan, withapproximately one hundred shin'uchi, fifty futatsume, and fifteen zenza,plus forty or so musicians and other types of yose entertainers callediromono (Anada 1989: 160-161). The Rakugo Geijutsu KyOkai (RGK),headed by Katura Yonemaru, is its closest rival, with over eightyhanashika and about forty musicians and iromono entertainers (Shunplitei1979: 34-36).The other two hanashika associations, headed by two influentialformer associates of RK, are smaller but still cannot be neglected.Sanyfitei Enraku left the RK in 1978, and founded the Sumirekai (VioletAssociation), now called the Enraku-tO. Enraku's faction has fifteenhanashika, and maintained its own yose, the Wakatake Yose, from 1985 to1991. 5 Since the closure of the Wakatake Yose, the Enraku-tO is not asactive as before; and Enraku himself rarely performs on stage at present,though he frequently gives lectures on rakugo, and appears on televisionprogrammes.Tatekawa Danshi, an outspoken, gifted hanashika, the only one tohave become a member of the House of Councillors, took himself and hisdisciples out of the RK in 1983, and founded the Tatekawa-rya, based onthe master-disciple relationship known as the iemoto system. 6 He hasEnraku was said to have spent six million dollars of his own money to build theWakatake Yose (Anada 1989: 165).Ie means "house" and moto means "origin," "root," or "head." lemoto thus is "thehead of the house." It implies the possessor of a recognized esthetic style, passeddown through nominal or real lineages, as in flower arrangement, tea-ceremony, andso on.57about eleven followers, and they cater rakugo performances for anyindividual or group who can pay the fees demanded (Morioka and Sasaki1990: 288-289).72. Theatrical ContextNot a single day passes in Tokyo without a rakugo performance onthe stage. Even outside the yose, rakugo performances constantly takeplace at a wide variety of locations, for an equally wide variety ofaudiences. Contemporary rakugo has an extremely diverse theatricalcontext: it is frequently performed in large halls and theaters, but younghanashika have become highly creative in their use of various smalltheaters.Yose TodayIn spite of the interest in rakugo, there are only four joseki — yosethat open every day — in Tokyo: the Suehirotei in Shinjuku, the AsakusaEngei Hall in Asakusa, the Suzumoto Engei Jo in Ueno, and the KokuritsuEngei Jo in Nagata-chii. The Suehirotei is the oldest of them, located inthe most popular shopping and entertainment district in Tokyo, Shinjuku.It is the only joseki which still has tatami-sections for seating, in additionto chairs. The decor of this yose is subtle, and its stage is reminiscent of atraditional tea room. The Asakusa Engei Hall, in contrast, has a bright andcheerful atmosphere. It is located in the mecca of modern Japanese7 "The current fee (1988) for a 'pack' [package] is 99,800 yen [ca. $1000] plus traveland lodging expenses" (Morioka and Sasaki 1990: 289).5 8vaudeville arts, Asakusa, though today this yose is the only remainingoutpost of its once vigorous tradition. The Suzumoto Engei Jo has thelargest and newest yose building, although its origin can be traced back tothe late Edo period (Anada 1989: 14). In addition to these, there is theTokyo Kokuritsu Engei JO (the National Entertainment Theater ofTokyo), opened in 1968, which is the only government-sponsored theaterpresenting rakugo, located beside the Tokyo Kokuritsu GekijO (theNational Theater of Tokyo), the national theater for Kabuki, Noh, andother traditional theatrical arts. Each yose is capable of seating over threehundred spectators. However, they are not often full on weekdays, and aredefinitely suffering from an audience shortage. During the summer of1992, the Asakusa yose attracted the most patrons, but it was only abouttwo-thirds full even on weekends.These reseki work on a ten-day schedule: the first ten-day section ofthe month is called kamiseki (the upper shift), the second is nakaseki (themiddle shift), and the final ten days are the shimo seki (the lower shift).There are a different group of performers for every shift, and an extra,surprise show takes place on the thirty-first of a month. The Suehirotei,the Asakusa Engei Hall, and the Kokuritsu Engei Jo feature RK and RGKperformers alternately, while the Suzumoto Engei JO is reserved for theRK. The Yoshiike Hall in Okachimachi, while not a jOseki, puts on theSaturday Yose by RGK performers. The schedules of both regular andspecial performances is changed to reflect seasonal and cultural events,both secular and religious. In the January kamiseki of each year, forexample, the best shin'uchi appear, to offer special performances for theNew Year; and mid-summer is the time for ghost stories and Buddhist5 9Karma tales, because of the obon festival, the Buddhist Celebration ofReturning Spirits, in July and August.The jOseki normally run two programmes a day, a matinee and anevening programme. The matinee goes from noon until about four-thirty;the evening show starts around five and lasts until nine. One programmefeatures about twenty performers. The price of a jOseki ticket is veryreasonable: a full-day ticket is around 2000 yen ($20) on weekdays, whichis the price for a single programme on weekends.The opening of the yose is signalled by the sound of the drumsplayed by the zenza; and it is also heard during the ten-minuteintermission two hours before the end of the show, as well as at the end.The order in which the performers appear reflects their status andpopularity. The younger apprentices appear near the beginning of theshow, while the shin'uchi are not seen until the middle and later parts.The most important performer of the day, the tori (star), is reserved forthe final position.Before the appearance of each performer, his or her theme music,hayashi, is played on the samisen. The performer then appears on thestage (koza) in kimono, with a fan in his/her hand, and sits on a futon-matat center stage, knees folded and a microphone in front. He or she thenbows and begins the story. At one side of the performer is a rectangularpiece of white paper, hanging vertically from a wooden stand, with his orher name in black Japanese ink. At the yose, audiences are never told thetitles of the stories in advance. Only the names of the performers areexplicitly given in their handbills and on this stage prop.60The atmosphere in a jOseki is casual — the audience eats, drinks, andeven chats while watching the show. Each jOseki has a small shop that sellssnacks, refreshments, and yose souvenirs, though not all provide alcoholicbeverages. The audience is made up of all kinds of people: young and old,students and businessmen, Tokyoites and tourists from other parts ofJapan, men and women; single people, couples, families with youngchild(ren) or grandparent(s), or large groups of businessmen, students, orpackage-tour tourists, from almost every economic and social backgroundpossible. Each yose has a group of hard-core regulars, jOren, of variousages and socio-economic backgrounds (though they are predominatelymale). Theatre owners and managers recognize these FOren as importantsources for constructive criticism, as well as sponsors and popularizers ofyose events. 8Another important group within the yose audience is the members ofthe ochiken, or "rakugo research clubs." Almost all Japanese colleges and8 I found myself sitting right beside one of the oldest /Oren at Asakusa Engei Jo, withanother senior /Oren across from me one Saturday. As I was busy taking field notesduring the show, the younger gentleman noticed me and nodded. During theintermission we sat on a couch in the theater hallway, and he gave me his name card— he was the president of a local manufacturing company — and identified himselfas a /Oren. He was keeping his own journal, writing down the titles of rakugo storiesas statistical evidence for his occasional public lectures on yose-rakugo. Thisgentleman said that he had known the older /Oren for many years but did not knowhis name. However, when we returned to the theater, the older person brought withhim a package of rice-crackers, quietly forwarding it to the younger person. Theychatted, commenting on the performance. Since then, every time I saw this elderjOren at Asakusa, he silently bowed to me, and I returned the bow. I never asked hisname; it did not matter.61universities have ochiken, to encourage amateur performances, promoterakugo research, and share the pleasure of the art. An ochiken is oftenassociated with a particular yose or group of hanashika. 9 Furthermore,many accomplished hanashika serve as instructors for amateur ochikenperformers. Such connections between a hanashika and an ochiken will beparticularly strong if the hanashika is a former member of the ochiken inquestion (Kimura 1992).The yose have their own particular media for advertisement:pamphlets, bills, and posters. The posters feature pictures of the starperformers, or large pictures may be posted at the front of the yose. 10 Butprobably the most effective way of advertising rakugo events is throughTokyo Kawaraban, a monthly journal providing a schedule of all rakugoand other narrative performances in Tokyo and its suburbs, both live andbroadcast. It also contains articles by performers and critics, many ofwhich appear in serial form and are published later as books. Rakugo isalso advertised in monthly or weekly journals of current events such asFor example, on the tenth day of the July nakaseki I observed the members of theochiken from Tokyo Agricultural University at the Suehirotei, changing thewoodblocks with the hanashika's names placed above the theater entrance, used foradvertisement as well as external decoration. This particular ochiken tradition (theTokyo Agricultural University Rakugo Club) has lasted for nearly twenty years.10 There are several interesting aspects about rakugo advertisements. First, the style ofwriting used for the names of performers, the titles of the stories and so on is calledyose -ji, or "yose-style writing." Yose -ji is a highly conventionalized calligraphydeveloped in the late Edo period; Tachibana Sakon is its best-known master atpresent. Second, yose used to advertise their activities by hiring yobikomi, or"barkers," who would wear kimono-style uniforms with the name of the yose, andtalk to the passers-by. Today, only the Asakusa Engei Hall still uses yobikomi.6 2Pia. Pia is a weekly/monthly activity guide, covering all upcoming eventsand activities in Tokyo, from performance arts to athletics to new shopsand restaurants. Its circulation is enormous. It is sold at every kiosk andbookstore, and the whole print run invariably disappears within a fewdays.HOru-rakugoRakugo is often presented in somewhat more formal settings than thejOseki. This type of performance is called hOru-rakugo, since it takesplace in special halls and theaters within the larger buildings, usuallycommercial establishments." HOru-rakugo provides the audience with theopportunity to appreciate selected performances free of time limitations,for at the yose the length is normally restricted to twenty minutes. HOru-rakugo can be a solo or joint performance, or it can be a yose-likeprogramme featuring both hanashika and iromono entertainers.The atmosphere at a hall tends to be formal, and the ticket price isusually higher than at a yose. For instance, the consumption of food ordrink during the performance is often forbidden. 12 Major literary figures,academics and rakugo critics may receive free passes to hOru-rakugo,11 The best-known hOru-rakugo are Mitsukoshi Rakugokai, Tokyo Rakugokai,Kinokuniya Yose, Rakugo Kenkyilkai, and Nikkan Rakugokai (Anada 1989: 141).12 At the Ikebukuro Rakugokai, a hOru-rakugo with a yose programme five eveningsmonthly at the newly established Tokyo Art Theater, I observed the audience (manyof whom were very well-dressed, like opera-goers) enjoying coffee, tea, or fruit juiceat the concession stand in the hallway during the intermission. Taking theserefreshments inside was not permitted.63which would be unusual at a yose (Mita 1973: 150-151 AndO 1968: 286-288).Small TheatersBecause only four jOseki remain today, and the hOru -rakugo tend toconcentrate on well-established hanashika, zenza and futatsume sufferfrom a shortage of performance opportunities. They have attempted toovercome this shortage by seeking out novel, more flexible narrativesettings, performing at very reasonable prices without necessarilyinvolving more senior hanashika.Small-scale rakugo performances now amount to about one-third ofall rakugo staged outside a yose . A well-respected shin'uchi may, fromtime to time, perform in front of a smaller audience, but it has becomequite common for younger hanashika to perform in a variety of settings.Small-scale rakugo is by no means new, but younger apprentices havenever before taken as much initiative in creating their own performancecontexts. This may reflect the changing relationship between senior andjunior hanashika today — young hanashika tend to be outspoken,individualistic, and business-minded, often more so than their seniors,whereas in the old days the senior hanashika would have had absolutepower.3. Structural Conventions and InnovationsThe performance structure of rakugo evolves under the influence oftwo opposing drives: towards structural preservation and towards6 4structural innovation. While most rakugo performances are informed bytraditional structural conventions, these are freely reinterpreted andmodified to fit their personal styles by many ambitious hanashika.Before discussing conventions and innovations, let us introduce thestory types found in rakugo. Rakugo stories are divided into classic andmodern. The term "classic rakugo," koten rakugo, appeared as a broadlabel for "traditional" rakugo stories as opposed to modern, innovativeones, shinsaku rakugo (Anada 1989: 61-62). 13 Although the distinction isnot clear-cut, certain structural regularities can be identified for eachtype. For example, a koten rakugo story will be set in the Edo periodwhile shinsaku rakugo occurs in more recent times; most koten rakugostories were in circulation before the end of Meiji while shinsaku rakugowere created after that time; and the authors of koten rakugo stories areoften anonymous, whereas the authors of most shinsaku rakugo stories areknown.Both types can be classified into several subgenres, although suchclassifications are more commonly used for koten stories. The mostimportant of these are ninjO - banashi (human drama), otoshi - banashi(farce), kaidan -banashi (ghost stories), shibai -banashi (acted-out stories),and ongyoku-banashi (stories with musical accompaniment).NinjO-banashiaims not at laughter but at the development of a dramatic narrative, whichoften moves the audience to tears. Otoshi -banashi, on the contrary, tries13 According to Morioka and Sasaki, "In titles of printed rakugo text collections, kotendoes not appear before 1968, while shinsaku has been in use since 1902" (Moriokaand Sasaki 1990: 279).6 5for comedy even at the cost of interrupting the dramatic flow. 14 Kaidan-banashi is closely related to the karma tales discussed in the previouschapter; while shibai - banashi features the prominent use of gestures.Finally in ongyoku -banashi, music is used to achieve dramatic effects.A single set of structural conventions dominates in the performanceof all the above types. Here, we will touch upon only the most important,sequential structure and verbal and non-verbal conventions. The storyusually has three parts, the makura (introduction), hanashi (main story),and ochi (punch line). 15 In the makura, a performer attempts to attract theaudience's attention to the main story, by making remarks with a seasonalrelevance, cracking a few jokes, and/or bringing up proverbs or parablesthematically related to the main story. The transition from the makura tothe main story should be smooth and seamless — a skilled performermoves from makura to the main story without being noticed. The ending,ochi, should also come naturally, without overemphasis.14 As we mentioned in the previous chapter, otoshi -banashi is the name by whichrakugo was known before Meiji. Today it designates only one subgenre of rakugo,though many Japanese tend to think that all rakugo stories are farcical, that is of theotoshi-banashi type.15 There are stories, particularly shinsaku stories, which do not follow the three-partstructure. Although all stories must have punch lines, the dramatic structure can beabsent — a shinsaku story is often a juxtaposition of short skits and jokes, much likestand-up comedy in the West. While it can be argued that these story-less rakugo arecontemporary products, influenced by television and other mass media, it is equallypossible that they have always existed side by side with the performance of dramaticstories (Kata 1987: 56-58).6 6Rakugo has adapted a number of theatrical techniques commonlyfound in kabuki. While sitting on a mat, for instance, performers use theirupper bodies to the full to convey meaning. Facial expressions,movements of the arms and fingers, and postures are all important partsof the performance, just as in a play. The theatrical conventions attachedto the left and right of the stage also entered rakugo. In some traditionalJapanese theatre arts, the entrance and the exit of characters with a higherstatus is always through the right side of the stage as seen from theaudience. The hanashika thus look towards the left of the stage whenassuming the role of a superior person (Rytitei 1967: 49-50).We should also note the conventionalized use of two props, a fan anda handkerchief. These two props (the only ones traditionally used by ahanashika in addition to his/her costume, kimono and kimono jacket) canstand in for almost anything. The fan, for example, can be used for soundeffects, or it might represent objects such as a knife, chopsticks, a brush, aspoon, a letter, a lamp, and so forth. The handkerchief might become abook, a cigarette case, a wallet, a piece of underwear, a rope, and so forth(AndO 1968: 219-219).However, these conventions are by no means obligatory. In recentyears, a trend towards challenging the traditional forms has developed,especially among young hanashika. A hanashika might now stand on thestage in the middle of his or her performance, walk around, or even singa jazz song. Some show their audacity with gaudy-colored or modernkimonos, or by bringing extra props such as baseball bats, golf clubs, orguitars. Particularly in the smaller theaters, young hanashika try to gain6 7popularity by doing virtually anything that might impress or please theaudience, combining rakugo with stand-up comedy, acting, musicalperformances, and other traditional or modern performance arts. Yetthese attempts tend to be no more than momentary successes, and theyusually remain matters of personal style which die with their creators. 16Finally, it should be pointed out that the rakugo tradition has beenexclusively male-centered until very recently. It has operated according toa set of androcentric assumptions that still inform not only the hanashika'ssocial world but also the linguistic norms of rakugo narration. Malecraftsmen and warriors remain the core characters in most stories. Thereare a minority of narrations in which a wakadanna, "young gentleman,"plays the pivotal role, but almost never do we find a woman there. Suchnorms pose serious difficulties for a prospective female hanashika, whomay well be expected to accept these norms in the course ofapprenticeship to an older male hanashika who fails to acknowledge theintricate gender issues surrounding rakugo. However, there is now asignificant minority of hanashika, both male and female, who have begunto challenge the biases restricting the artistic capacity of rakugo narrationand performance, and who are rewriting and reperforming suchnarrations with greater respect and sensitivity to the feminine (SanshOteiCharaku 1992b).16 There are exceptions, of course. Morioka and Sasaki (1990: 279-281) discussSanyfitei EnjO and his followers as examples of this radical, "experimental" rakugo.EnjO produces 13-14 new narrations per year, some of which seem to have anexcellent chance of surviving as "classics" of shinsaku .6 85. Rakugo and Modern Communication TechnologyThe advent of modern communication media has helped diversifyrakugo performance contexts and textual preservation, as well asmodifying the way it is composed. Today, rakugo performances areregularly broadcast all over Japan. The vigor of the Japanese art andpublishing industries has ensured that large number of recordedperformances are commercially available on tape cassettes and videotapes,replacing the earlier use of phonograph records and film, while at thesame time the written texts of rakugo narrations remain crucial. Withsuch a diversity of sources available, contemporary performers have anexceptional degree of freedom in practicing and composing their stories.Diversification of the Performance ContextRadio broadcasting of rakugo began in 1925, to be followed bytelevision in 1953. The immediate effects of both were strikingly similar:the yose were deserted whenever rakugo was on the air. Following theintroduction of mass media techniques, the popularity of jOseki have onthe whole declined, while that of rakugo itself has steadily risen, as radioand television transmit rakugo sessions to every part of Japan. However,the jOseki have benefited in one way: they advertised rakugo, makingmany of the audience interested in seeing their favorite performers inperson at the yose. Hence, while some yose halls have had to close down,others have increased in popularity. The TBS radio and television stationeven took the initiative in arranging live performances: the companyrevived an important rakugo research association, the Society for the6 9Study of Rakugo, and has been sponsoring its regular sessions which takeplace in the National Theater at Tokyo (Morioka and Sasaki 1990: 265-266).At present, several broadcasting stations in Tokyo regularly featurerakugo programmes, either live or from their studios: NHK, NihonTelevision, TBS, and Bunka Broadcasting. NHK, the public broadcastingnetwork, has two television and two radio programmes featuring rakugo.Nihon Television has one long-lasting comedy show, "ShOten" ("The spotfor laughs"), which regularly features popular hanashika. TBS broadcastsmaster performances on radio weekly, as does Bunka Broadcasting. Theseprogrammes are all on weekends, primarily during Sunday at lunch hourand in the evening (Tokyo Kawaraban: 36). In addition, there are specialseasonal programmes featuring rakugo performances, such as the year-ending and/or New Year's Day shows.In addition to broadcasting of rakugo performances, the mass mediaprovide an excellent source of financial opportunities for hanashika. Manycontemporary rakugo performers take full social and economic advantageof television to become comedians in a broader sense: they may host talkshows or variety shows, or appear in soap operas. Their popularity ontelevision sometimes allows them to branch out further into film, music,or the theater. Many young hanashika thus become television idols, whichmay easily have the unfortunate effect that their audience never gets to seea televised rakugo performance by them.Even though television serves to advertise rakugo — by introducinga number of multi-talented hanashika and thus attracting the audience's70attention back to the yose — there is a serious price to pay. A television-dependent hanashika tends to lose touch with the jOseki. Since the JOsekirun on a ten-day cycle, a hanashika will be required to appear at leastseven days out of ten, on a fairly rigid schedule. This means that anyhanashika whose outside activities become too pressing may have thusmade it impossible for himself or herself to perform at the jOseki. Shouldthis happen, which is not at all uncommon, the hanashika may havesacrificed his or her primary career for the sake of a more general mediapopularity.Preservation of TextsRakugo narrations are preserved in both written and unwrittenforms. The former, published and unpublished texts, includes thedifferent types of rakugo literature; and the latter is comprised of moremodern and commercial products such as phonograph records, cassettes,and videotapes.Rakugo texts have been published in enormous quantity ever sincethe term rakugo was coined, and the rate of production shows no sign ofslackening. The study by Morioka and Sasaki lists nearly four hundredrakugo texts appearing since mid-Meiji (1884), but they admit that theirlist is far from exhaustive (Morioka and Sasaki 1990: 323-338). Besidesthese independent publications, a large amount of rakugo material appearsin literary and narrative-arts journals. Each year, several rakugo texts inbook form are published: every bookstore has a selection in itsTraditional Performance Arts section, ranging from expensive hard-cover7 1volumes to cheap paperbacks, in addition to the even more popularethnographic literature on rakugo.The production and preservation of both rakugo texts and the relatedethnographic literature is consumer-centered to a high degree (as is alsotrue for the cassettes and videotapes discussed below). Thus, differenttypes of text have been tailored to different audiences. In a society whereliteracy is a shared social norm, and where the domestic publicationmarket is highly competitive, the readers' demands for specializedpublications easily results in the quick creation of such services.Speaking generally, there are three major types of text:transcriptions of narrations by master hanashika, more general collectionsof stories, and encyclopedic lists which give only the story outlines. Thefirst are usually published under the hanashika's names, sometimes withthe addition of editors or transcribers; the others are usually left withoutattribution, apart from their editors. On occasion, the so-called rakugoexperts create their own versions of stories. Many of these texts alsoinclude commentaries by either their hanashika authors or their editors,which provide a certain amount of basic analytic framework.The audience for these publications can likewise be divided intoseveral different classes. First, both professional and amateur storytellersuse the transcriptions as stylistic models and memory aids. Second, theyare drawn upon by those who need to identify stories for researchpurposes, formal or informal. For this, the encyclopedic collections arebest, but the general story collections are also useful. Third, there aregeneral readers who wish to familiarize themselves with the rakugo7 2repertoire without being exposed to the narrative detail or the individualpeculiarities of a hanashika's style. For example, my father used to readthis type of rakugo text to me during my childhood, and I have done thiswith my children as well. Such texts thus have a good chance of enteringfamily or school libraries.In addition to rakugo literature, there is a large quantity of literatureabout rakugo. This includes both scholarly and semi-scholarly studies ofaspects of rakugo or the art of the hanashika, constituting a diverseassortment of informal ethnographic studies for the entire range ofpotential readers, from novice to expert. A large part of this literature ismade up of biographical sketches of master hanashika by theiracquaintances. Hanashika autobiographies are rarer, but they do exist.Even more popular are descriptive studies of rakugo "conventions" andtheir philosophical basis. The seasonal activities, foods, jargon, socialcustoms, historical incidents, esthetic positions, and secular and religiousrituals that appear in rakugo, especially in koten stories, are not alwaysreadily understood by contemporary Japanese. This need has given birthto a lively demand for books which explain and interpret these details, andabout a dozen such works are published each year.Finally, master rakugo performances are available on large quantitiesof cassette tapes, compact disks, and videotapes. These are usually sold atmusic stores. For example, a music store which forms part of theKinokuniya bookstore, located a few blocks away from the Suehiroteiyose, has a large selection of recordings in all three types of media.According to the store manager, purchasers include a number of73professional hanashika. Moreover, many Japanese libraries have goodcollections of rakugo performances on cassette tapes.Before the advent of these newer forms of recording, masterperformances were widely available on phonograph records. Althoughsuch records are no longer sold commercially, they are widely collected.The hanashika Miyakoya Utaroku, in particular, is famous for hispersonal library of rakugo records. He is the author of Rakugo RekodoHachtja -nen shi (The Eighty-year History of Rakugo PhonographRecords), an extensive handbook covering from the first recording in1903 up to 1987.The main center for the collection and preservation of rakugo,historical and contemporary, is the library of the National EntertainmentTheater, the only public library devoted to narrative arts texts. However,the National Diet Library also contains extensive holdings. Moreover,public libraries throughout Japan and many locally-funded libraries inTokyo carry rakugo texts and literature, in more or less quantity. Thelibrary of the National Art Theater also has an excellent collection of oldphonograph recordings of rakugo performances.Mode of CompositionThe traditional method of mastering a new story relied heavily onface-to-face training sessions given by master performers, the so-calledSanben-geiko, or "three-practice sessions." In sanben-geiko, a more seniorhanashika performs a story for a junior up to three times, usually giving aperformance a day for three days. The pupil is expected to have7 4memorized the story by the fourth day, when he will have to perform thestory for the master hanashika, who will then correct errors and giveadvice on matters of detail. Since there was no tape recorder in the olddays to back up the hanashika's memory, he would spend hoursmemorizing and practicing the story by himself. Often, he would takelong walks, repeating the story he had heard from his master (SanshOteiCharaku 1992b).Another important way through which a hanashika can pick uptechniques from a master performer is to "eavesdrop" from backstage.While sanben -geiko is excellent for acquiring the text of a story, it cannotcommunicate the dynamic flow of the actual performance, especially theinteraction with the audience. This is more easily learned by on-the-spotobservation. In either case, a younger hanashika does not have completefreedom to study with whomever he wishes. He must seek permissionfrom his master not only to practice with someone else, but also toperform whole or part of a story he learns in this way (Rytitei1967: 148-150; SanshOtei Charaku 1992b).While these two traditional practice methods remain widely used,performers, regardless of rank, have many other methods to learn theirmaterial that were unavailable in the past. The traditional sanben -geiko isnow often replaced by a single lesson, where the master allows the pupilto tape his performance. Alternatively, a skilled hanashika may composehis story using commercially available rakugo texts, on videotape,compact disks, or cassettes, or by watching performances broadcast ontelevision and radio.7 5Creating a new rakugo story requires a great deal of research andreading as well as the task of composition itself. Hanashika in general reada lot of classical rakugo texts. This is especially necessary when a matureshin'uchi wants to perform a story that has not been given for a long time.This is called neta -oroshi, "trying new material." 17 To find a story orstory material useful for his or her performance, a hanashika must readvery widely, not only classical and modern Japanese novels but alsotranslations of Western works.When the background work is finished, finally the time comes whenthe hanashika puts his or her version of the story down on paper, creatinga script which will be the basis of the performance. Sometimes, thesehandwritten scripts by respected hanashika circulate among a small groupof associates. This was the case with Yanagiya KingorO, a hanashika whowrote numerous innovative modern rakugo stories under the pen nameArisaki Tsutomu (Sansyiltei Charaku 1992b, SanshOtei Muraku 1992).In spite of the changes brought about by the introduction of moderncommunication technology, hanashika still place the ultimate value in themore old-fashioned face-to-face methods of knowledge transmission andstory composition. No matter how much assistance one can get fromliterary texts and recorded material, a story is never complete withoutsome feedback from equals and seniors. The difference such consultationmakes is so marked that experts can tell at once if the story a hanashikahas composed is based only on transmitted texts. Face-to-face consultation17 Neta-oroshi literally means "(performing) a story for the first time."7 6may take the form of lessons, as already described, or informalgatherings, including spontaneous remarks exchanged backstage. But mostimportant, in the mind of the hanashika, a story is perfected on stage, withthe assistance of a live audience. The written script and the off-stagerehearsals do not fix a final version of the story. In fact, there can neverbe a final version, because the performance differs each time,harmonizing with its changing context. Thus hanashika typically remarkthat "one composes a story with the live audience — good stories havesurvived many audiences over centuries, never mind if one hanashikacould achieve such a result in his lifetime!" (SanshOtei Charaku 1992)Part 2: An Account of a Performance1. IntroductionOn Saturday, August the twenty-ninth, 1992, I was rushing up thestairs of the Yoshiike department store in Okachimachi to the YoshiikeHall, which is located on the seventh floor. There I was to meet SanshOteiCharaku, the star performer of that day's matinee of the YoshiikeSaturday Yose at one p.m., to discuss videotaping his performance. I waslate by a few minutes, and could have taken the elevator (which was rightbeside the stairway) instead, but the heat and crowds outside the store, andthe noise and glitter within, made the stairs my choice after only aninstant of thought. This shadowy, silent corner seemed an unexpectedhaven of coolness and quiet, a cave into which I could escape.Actually, I had always chosen to take the stairs when I came to theYoshiike Hall, the only yose that still seats its entire audience on tatami.7 7Walking up, flight upon flight, I would imagine myself making a gradualtransition to a different world, one clearly distinguished from mundanereality governed by the clock, money, hunger, and sleep: a world ofimagination, the theater. I thought thereby to enter a "past", where I couldindulge myself in tradition perfectly embalmed and exhibited in aneternally tranquil atmosphere. For these reasons, I nurtured a romanticvision of that world as "sacred," floating above and beyond earthlyphenomena, transcending the street-level traffic jam, the hawkers' voices,and the faces of the innumerable people I had jostled aside to get there.In my fantasy, the stairs to the elevated hall had come to resemble ahashigakari, the entrance path leading through the audience's space to theperformance area, employed in many Japanese theatrical arts, by whichperformers would enter and exit with quiet dignity. It became my mind'smetaphorical path, leading me through meaningful research activities tothe ideal stage itself, transforming what I understood as "present" into"past," "modern" into " traditional," "real" into "imaginary," perhapseven "Tokyo" into "Edo."Despite my haste, I was enjoying this imaginary prelude, notknowing that I was to be thoroughly disappointed in short order. But thatday, I also had another great expectation: an opportunity to see Charakuin kimono, off stage. Charaku had told me a few days before that hewould be wearing his kimono, since it was required for the performanceappointment he had after Yoshiike. Since most hanashika nowadaysdecline to wear kimono outside the theater, I felt genuinely fortunate andprivileged. Although Japanese women often wear kimono on cultural7 8occasions, and there are professional female companions who wearkimono regularly, it is much rarer to see Japanese men in kimono otherthan at home. The two most obvious exceptions are sumo-wrestlers andhanashika, though the former still wear kimono in public as well as "onthe job." I thought that it would be a great chance to take a photograph,the two of us together!Rushing up to the head of the stairs, I was simultaneouslyapproaching the height of my exoticism, a burden I had borne withouthestitation or questioning ever since I had purchased my ticket to Japan inVancouver, the three-month trip being the longest, by far, of the threetimes I had returned since leaving in 1980.But, to my surprise, Charaku stood at the top of the stairs, beside awindow, in a delicately-toned whitish-green suit and a matching tie withautumn colors running brightly through it. As I looked up at him, heglanced in my direction, smiling with his eyes which seemed to be saying,"That's a long way, isn't it?" Trying to control my gasping, I somehowmanaged to apologize for being late. Charaku showed me to a chair to sitand relax, and went briefly inside the theater to find the hall manager. Isat, listening to the voice of a performer inside, and realized that with mypicture of the "authentic" theater at Yoshiike shaping my vision, I hadnever before noticed that there were chairs in the hall.Soon Charaku returned. I was introduced to the hall manager, andreceived his permission to videotape Charaku's performance. When themanager went back inside the theater, Charaku invited me for lunch at aGerman restaurant on the sixth floor, since he had a couple of hours of7 9free time before his performance. I gratefully accepted his invitation, andwe took the elevator one quick floor down, to settle technical matters overfine malt beer.2. The PerformerThe bright, sunlit restaurant, with its soft background music, madequite a contrast to the atmosphere at the yose. Before we sat down, westopped in front of a large poster on a wall, which said, in English, "TheRepublic of Germany." Charaku muttered a brief remark on the recentpolitical changes in Germany, and quickly shifted the topic to food anddrink.This youthful-looking, fifty year-old hanashika, associated with theRGK, is in many respects a unique figure among his peers, in spite of —perhaps because of — the fact that he does not play the role of a jester onstage. Thirty years ago Charaku began to study under the late Sansh6teiKaraku, after an unsuccessful attempt to enter the University of Tokyo tostudy law — comparable to applying to the law school at HarvardUniversity. His master, a very well respected hanashika who excelled inperforming classical rakugo, passed away a few years after he became anapprentice. He continued his studies under an elder pupil of Karaku's,SanshOtei Muraku, who is today a well-known talent both on televisionand at the yose. Charaku's career development also owed a great deal tothe late Kokontei Imasuke, the former Chairman of the RGK and the mostaccomplished modern rakugo performer of the last generation, withwhom he spent a great deal of time. At the age of thirty-three, he became80a shin'uchi, but his teacher Imasuke died shortly after Charaku's finalpromotion as a hanashika.This blend of formal training in both classical and modern rakugo,and academic subjects is rather uncommon for a hanashika. However, it isCharaku's uncompromising artistic attitude which makes him exceptional.He tells stories rather than peddles jokes, in defiance of the current yosenorm. His favorite genre is ninjO -banashi, especially the more classicalstories, with subtle humor and intricately woven narration. Heparticularly excels at female roles, rather than the more typical andvulgar masculine figures which dominate the rakugo casting list. Thus,even though he has received a prestigious award at the Fall Art Festival,Geijutusai yashashO, he felt until very recently that there would be verylittle opportunity for his establishing himself as a respected hanashika,unless he made compromises which he was very unwilling to consider.However critical he may be when evaluating his own career, he is atpresent doubtless one of the most competent shin'uchi of his generation. 18His jOseki performance schedule during my stay in Japan included beingthe star performer of the evening programme at the Asakusa Engei Hall18 In October 1992, Tatekawa Danshi said during a television show that Charaku wasthe only hanashika to deserve his attention at present. Charaku has known Danshi fora long time, and they have often exchanged ideas about rakugo. However, Danshi'sremark was so provocative that some of the people around Charaku were shocked: ittranslates literally as "Among hanashika, only Charaku licked my cock" (hanashikade ore no rosen o nameta nowa Charaku dakedana — rosen is storytellers' slang forthe male organ). Over the phone, Charaku explained to me that Danshi was signallinghim to be more aggressive in his performances, and was challenging him: "that'show they talk, oh, those hanashika!"81during the July nakaseki, as well as the regular day performance duringthe August shimoseki there; the star position at the Yoshiike SaturdayYose in August and September; and a regular evening performance at theSuehiro-tei during the September kamiseki. In addition to working at theyose in Tokyo, he occasionally appears overseas. 19 Furthermore, he alsogives solo shows four times a year at a private membership pub inShinjuku, the JOhoku Pairasu Club, 20 for a somewhat smaller but veryeager audience.3. Surroundings of the TheaterThe Yoshiike is located within easy walking distance of Okachimachi,a Japan Railway station; it is also very close to Nakaokachimachi, aHibiya-line subway station. Both provide quick access to Ueno, Asakusa,Nihonbashi, Fukagawa, and NingyO-chO, the areas that were once thelively centers of shitamachi, downtown Edo. The Great Earthquake of1923 and the Second World War brought about drastic modifications tothe external appearance of shitamachi, and since then Metro Tokyo hassteadily expanded eastwards, creating numerous new cultural andcommercial centers. Yet these older parts of Tokyo have remained as19 He was, for instance, the star performer at the Vancouver JAL Yose in December of1991, which is where I first met him.20 This club is supported by the graduates of Toyama high school, well-known for itsacademic reputation. Many Toyama graduates have risen high in the government afterattending the University of Tokyo; still others have been highly successful inbusiness or the professions. Charaku is the only hanashika Toyama has everproduced. However, this club, located very close to Suehirotei, is also used by otherhanashika for their solo shows.82lively as the newer ones. With their unassuming air and vigorousmercantile spirit, they assert a powerful influence upon Tokyoites andtourists alike.Like many of these districts, Okachimachi is a lively mix of diversesocial and cultural values, and their spiritual and material manifestations.The seven-storied Yoshiike is surrounded by street venders of manykinds, from cheap compact disc stands playing Bill Evans to daily-specialfood stalls featuring tempura, cooked fish, or cutlets. The narrow sidestreets are thronged with shoppers and browsers fitted out in any trendyor traditional fashion that may have taken their fancy, from kimono-jacket to Kenzo to Levis to Lanvin. Rows and rows of shops, restaurants,and other commercial places assert their particular personalities withbright neon-signs, shop-signs, flags, and sidewalk-sales; while theautomobiles, Japanese, American, and European, nudge through thecrowds like well-disciplined monsters. Gutsy yet amenable, Okachimachiis just one of the numerous places that express the Japanese vigor to acceptand digest foreign goods and values along with the way of life alreadyfamiliar to them.4. Theatrical SettingWe went back to the seventh floor just before three o'clock, since Ineeded to set up my video equipment during the ten-minute intermissionwhich began at three. Charaku's performance was scheduled to commenceat ten after four, but he wanted to spend some time rehearsing, so hedisappeared backstage.8 3At the Yoshiike Hall, the audience must take their shoes off and keepthem in small lockers along the wall. Above the lockers are large squarecards with the signatures of famed hanashika — a familiar yose walldecoration. A young male receptionist wearing a kimono coat bearing theletters for "yoshiike" sat quietly behind the reception desk across from thelockers. I signed my name on the audience list kept on the counter. Theman remained sitting there, without a word.As will be apparent from the title "Yoshiike Saturday Yose," this hallpresents rakugo on Saturdays only. Seven years ago, the RGK began thisprogramme as the result of a disagreement with the Suzumoto Engei J6 inUeno. The RGK's original intention was to use this hall as their jOseki,comparable to the RK's Suzumoto; but fire regulations prevented this.Like other yose, the Saturday Yose runs from eleven forty-five to ninep.m.; the matinee ends at four thirty, and the evening programme starts atquarter to five. There is a somewhat restricted selection of performers,because only those who are performing at other regular yose can appearhere each Saturday. However, the hall is often used for solo or jointshows by RGK members.21The hall can seat a maximum of nearly one hundred fifty people.When I slipped quietly inside the theater through the sliding doors, it washalf full. Seventy-odd people were there, seated on futon-mats with21 The hall has a few technical problems due to the fact that it was not originallyintended for rakugo performances, and was erected long before the theatre movedthere. First, the stage is to the left of the spectators rather than in the center, because84backrests, drinking refreshments and eating snacks. 22 According toCharaku, one third of the Yoshiike audience are regulars. Although theserarely visit backstage, they often communicate with the performersduring, between, and after the shows. For example, I witnessed ahanashika, on stage, openly asking a young regular if he had any request.It is also evident that this yose has a relatively high proportion of youngbut keen audience members.5. Aspects of the PerformanceI found a place for myself and my video camera in the fourth rowfrom the front, near the right of the stage. When I began watching theprogramme, it was already two-thirds over: there were five moreperformances left, three rakugo and two iromono. At other yose, thereare usually six to eight acts following the intermission. However, the totalnumber of performances at the Yoshiike is much smaller than that inother yose: about a dozen compared to twenty or so. This means that eachperformer has more time, approximately five minutes longer at theYoshiike.As the sound of the drum signalled the end of the intermission, azenza appeared. He flipped the paper hanging from a wooden stand to theright of the stage to show the next performer's name, and brought aof the space occupied by part of the backstage. Second, there is a large pillar in theaudience area, which makes viewing from some positions impossible.22 The audience here receive one free nonalcoholic refreshment with the purchase of aticket. Ticket prices are 1,800 yen (approximately 18 Canadian dollars) for an adult,1,300 yen (13 dollars) for a student, and 1,000 yen for a child (10 dollars).85microphone stand for him. The zenza customarily invert the futon-mat onstage before a hanashika's performance, this act serving to symbolicallyrenew the hanashika's space. They may also adjust the microphone height,arrange props, or on occasion place a cup of hot green tea beside themat. 23 Their work between the performances, as well as their briefappearance as storytellers at the beginning of the show, allows them to actas scouts for their seniors. While on stage, they quickly form an idea ofthe quality of the audience, or any change in it (gender, age, size ofparties, occupations, proportion of regulars to newcomers, and so on),and convey this information to the main performers backstage. Hence azenza's primary contribution is not so much to get the audience' attentionbut to gather information that will ensure the smooth flow of theprogramme.24Such cooperation is an unspoken rule governing the operation of anyyose programme. All performers assume responsibility for theharmonious working of the entire show: they follow the time limitsstrictly, take note of who has preceded and will follow them, and what23 A few decades ago there used to be a hibachi-stove, with a tea kettle on its top, placedon stage. A hanashika would take the kettle, pour the tea into his tea cup, and takesips, while he was talking. The manner in which he handled the tea kettle and cupwere often considered just as indicative of a hanashika's true artistic worth as hisactual performance. Sanyiltei EnshO and Kokontei ShinshO exemplified thesemanners. Today, few performers keep their tea cup beside them on stage. I once sawhow Katsura Utamaru had his zenza place his tea cup near the mat at the AsakusaEngei Hall, but he did not even try to reach the cup during the performance.24 In fact, a zenza performs other secretarial work backstage, pouring tea for the mainperformers, assisting them in costume changes, and writing down the titles of thestories performed.86they did or will do, expressing their respect for other performers whenon stage. The success of a yose performance thus depend greatly on acollaborative efforts by all participants. It is never an individualachievement.25After the final iromono, which was a comic talk by two performers,Charaku's hayashi was played. The zenza appeared, inverted the mat andadjusted the microphone, then quickly retreated. As soon as Charakuappeared in his black kimono, the audience began to applaud in welcome,and a young regular in the front row called out "Mattemashita!" ("Hereyou are!") Charaku seated himself on the mat, and bowed politely.The bow is an important part of a performer's style, and it can beshort, long, comical, or polite. Charaku's bow is impressively polite,without any touch of comedy. The bow, almost magnetically, altered theatmosphere in the theatre — the air suddenly became crisp and sharp.When the audience calmed down, Charaku began to speak in a clear,musical voice. Although he is small in stature, his presence filled thestage. His story was Sannenme, or "The Third Anniversary," a humorousghost tale appropriate to the month of obon, the Celebration of the SpiritReturning. Despite the fact that Charaku's narrative style is rather "dry"25 This is even the case with the star performers, the special features of the day, whosefinal appearance signals that they are expected to excel in their individualperformances. There are many ways for the stars to handle the tension arising fromthe need to excel individually on one hand, and the need to satisfy a collective goal onthe other. Charaku also faced such pressures, which are briefly discussed in Chapter4.8 7— almost devoid of the exaggerated comic gestures and expressionscommonly used by most hanashika — the audience listened attentively.Looking at him through the viewfinder of the video camera, Iwhispered to myself ichigo ichie, a well-known expression by SennoRikytl, a tea master in the Edo period. Its literal meaning is, "meetingonce; and only once in a lifetime." According to the spirit of ichigo ichie,no meeting, planned or chance, occurs without a potential for theparticipants to share each other's hospitality. Charaku had said that thiswas his favorite expression; it was not only the philosophy which underlayhis performance, a commercially motivated human encounter, but alsothat which guided his day-to-day social encounters. No one meeting canever be wasted, since each is unique and has its own potential forperfection. The words and the movements of the performance, like theconversation and interaction of a social event, will be indelibly imprintedon the participants' minds, if they realize that each meeting is the first andthe final one.As I recalled his words, I felt as if I were on the stage myself, as if Iwere an anonymous voice echoing Charaku. I looked around the audience,and sensed their unspoken desire, to obliterate the boundaries betweentheir own stories and the one being narrated.Soon the performance came to an end. It took a little longer thantwenty minutes for Charaku to finish his Sannenme, probably the driestbut most delicately narrated Sannenme ever performed. He bowed deeply,his head and shoulders almost touching the floor, and the audience'sapplause enfolded him.8 86. ConclusionAs I slowly walked down the hall towards backstage, I saw Charakustanding in the middle of the crowd of people putting their shoes back on.He noticed me and said "I'm sorry," shrugging. Unable to comprehendwhat he meant, I said "Sorry for what?" His performance had beennothing to be sorry about — did he think I was that harsh a critic? Headded, in English, "Go ahead, beat me." In his hands was the taperecorder I had given him earlier because the sound of the narration couldbe better recorded right at the edge of the stage, hidden from theaudience's eyes. He switched back to Japanese: "I forgot to tape-record myperformance for you." To this, I instantaneously responded with afainting gesture, covering my heart with my hands. "I, I set it up there,you know, but I was so busy rehearsing, because I wanted to do a goodjob for you. So I forgot to press the recording button. I should have toldthe zenza to do it!"I looked into his eyes, wondering if he was really the same person Isaw on the stage. His lips relaxed, and a smile returned. In that moment,he felt like a long-lost friend at last returned to my company, travellingtowards a common achievement."Never mind. My video will probably catch it."I glanced at the stairway. It was dark, but I heard the sound offootsteps going down. And then it was silent again, like the unvoicedvoices and stories I had heard and not heard earlier.89Chapter 4Performance Analysis:Emergent Form, Emergent MessageThe structure of social roles, relations, and interactions; the oralliterary text and its meaning; and the structure of the event itselfare all emergent in performance. The collective, the communal,the conventional are not forsaken here; rather, the individual andthe creative are brought up to parity with tradition in a dialecticplayed out within the context of situated action, a kind of praxis.— Richard Bauman, Story, Performance, and EventIn this chapter I will examine aspects of the actual performance event,where the performer's individual creativity, cultural tradition, and specificparticipant framework are brought together in dynamic harmony. Just as notwo utterances are completely identical as acts of communication, each oralperformance is unique. The formal content of the utterances and stories, thetexts, may in some cases be identical, but the meaning of anycommunicative act depends upon its immediate context."The texts we are accustomed to viewing as the raw materials of oralliterature," Bauman (1986: 2) writes, "are merely the thin and partial recordof deeply situated human behavior." Duranti and Goodwin (1992: 11)similarly points out the significance of the interactivity of storytelling —the story is shaped by audience participation. Texts, written or recorded,however detailed they may be, can never fully capture the dynamics of oralperformance, because form, meaning, and participant framework are neverfixed, but are invariably emergent. Developing the insights found in90Bauman, and Duranti and Goodwin, I will explore the professional rakugoperformance as a dynamic process of communication in which aperformer's creativity is harmonized with traditional and collective norms.Although the primary focus of my study is how individual performersverbally structure their stories, I will also give a brief discussion of theinfluence of the audience on the performance structure.In creating his own version of "Sannen-me," SanshOtei Charaku drewupon two older versions of the same story, one written and one videotaped,by a well-established hanashika, the late Sanyifitei EnshO. Both of thesegave the same sequence of events, yet the ways in which the stories are toldby the two performers differed significantly, to the point that they areclassified into different subgenres of rakugo: Charaku's is consideredninjO - banashi, EnshO's otoshi - banashi. But as with any other act ofcommunication, each performer's conduct was subject to various socialrules of interaction. As we shall see, Charaku's age, status, artisticreputation, lineage affiliation, position in the day's programme, and thepresence of his fans in the audience, for example, all played important rolesin shaping the form of the text.This chapter is divided into several sections. In the first, I will brieflydiscuss the historical background of the story EnshO and Charaku werenarrating, "Sannen-me." As part of this, I will also examine how the textsof "Sannen-me" have been preserved.In the second section, I will analyze the structural features ofCharaku's performance. Although my primary concern here will be the91manner in which he adapted the models provided by Ensile), this inquirywill also reveal major stylistic differences between the two performers,particularly differences in their metanarration, the device to establish anarrative frame. At this point I will touch upon the audience's participationin the act of storytelling, through their verbal response to the performer, asan important structural element; and I will take note of certain limitationswhich affect textual preservation.In the third section, I will discuss the pragmatics which underlie thechoice of structural features to make up a generic pattern. This will includeexamination of the social roles and relations, directly or indirectly presentin the performance context, which determine the modes and motivationsfor the use of expressive devices.' I will argue that Charaku's performancewas a dual pragmatic act which both challenged and conformed withtradition and social norms — an open-ended attempt to reflect on rakugo asan art genre.In the concluding section, I will suggest that orality, when expertlyutilized in a rakugo performance, is a far more effective means of estheticexpression than the literary mode, because its sensitivity and immediacyenhances the form and meaning unique to each performance rather that1 Labov and Waletzky say that a narrative has two functions, referential andevaluative. The evaluative function shapes the narrative units that sort the sequenceof events into a meaningful pattern, a genre or a generic sub-part. The evaluation ofa narrative is defined as "that part of the narrative which reveals the attitude of thenarrator towards the narrative by emphasizing the relative importance of somenarrative units as compared to others" (Labov and Walentzky 1967: 37).92merely constituting one more mechanical reproduction of a text, an artifactwhich of its very nature is permanent, fixed, and inflexible.1. "Sannen-me" ("The Third Anniversary")Basic Plot of Its Main StoryThere is a young married couple. The wife is suffering from a terminalillness, and as her deathbed wish, she forbids her husband to remarry. Inresponse, the husband asks her to come back as a ghost on his weddingnight should people arrange a match for him, since the appearance of hisdead wife's ghost would destroy the new marriage. She promises to do soand then dies. Some time after her death, his relatives do arrange anothermarriage for him, and the wedding takes place. The man waits for hiswife's ghost on the wedding night, but she fails to show up. Disappointed,he decides to settle down permanently with his new wife. Three years afterthe wife's death, the couple decides to perform a memorial service for her,and they visit her grave. To the husband's surprise, his late wife's ghostfinally appears on the night of her memorial service. He asks her about thedelay, and she replies that she had to wait until her hair grew back, whichhad been shaved off at her funeral ceremony. She says, "You wouldn't likeme if I came back as a nun."Literary SourcesThis story is said to be an expansion of a short comic tale bySakuragawa Jihinari (1761-1833), a prominent writer of popular literature(gesaku) in the late Edo period, who is also famed for his contributions to93the development of rakugo during that time. The original story appears inhis Yfishi Chin Gakumor, published in 1803 (TOdai Kenkyil Kai 1969: 215;Mutt!) 1969: 264-266):A man is eating his lunch. Over the small dining table, a palewoman in a pure white dress suddenly appears: her lower body isinvisible, and a peculiar ghostly sound accompanies her. Theman is surprised. But as he looks at her closely, he realizes thatshe is his deceased wife.Husband: "Hey, you've been dead for five or six years. Why doyou suddenly show up?Ghost: "Because of my desire to see you, for I haven't seen youfor a long time."Husband: "You're such a helpless fool! A ghost should appear atnight. Why you have to show up during the day?"She responded to his criticism with tears in her eyes, "BecauseI'm afraid of the dark." (translation mine)According to the Koten Rakugo Meijin Kai (see Appendix Two, Sanyfitei1969-1970: 86), this story has several variations. It is said to be anelaboration of the latter half of "Sara-ya" ("The Ceramic Dish Merchant"),and the first half of "Sara-ya" in turn is adapted from an older story,"Hanami-Ogi" ("Fan for Cherry-Blossom Viewing") "Sutoku-in" ("Ex-Emperor Sutoku") is another variation of "Sara-ya"; it has traditionallybeen seen as a kamigata (Osaka-style) rakugo story, but it has re-enteredthe repertoires of many storytellers in Tokyo. Another kamigata story,"Chazuke Wirer ("Meal-Time Ghost"), is a further variation of "Sannen-me."94In the following paragraphs, I will attempt to provide a brief overviewof the structural relationship between these stories, although the historicalprocess through which they came to share structural elements is not clear.2I also wish to show how different versions of rakugo stories have beenpreserved in texts since the late nineteenth century. 3The rakugo story called "Hanami-Ogi" ("Fan for Cherry-blossom-Viewing)" is a romantic comedy in which a man and a woman fall in loveat a flower-viewing gathering (Yanagiya Tsubame, 1916). The womanpasses him a fan with a love poem of the famous ex-emperor Sutoku's onit. They part, but thanks to the help of the fan and its poem, are able to findeach other again. The general plot structure of "Hanami-Ogi" and its happyending are shared by "Sutoku-in" ("Ex-Emperor Sutoku"). Even the poemsin both stories are identical (Katsura Mikisuke III 1910, 1963, 1968;Shaukutei ShOkaku 1918; Katsura BeichO 1970, 1981; ShOfukutei Nikaku1974; Irifunetei SenkyO 1974)."Sara-ya" ("The Ceramic Dish Merchant"), on the other hand, seemsto have two basic versions, one with a happy ending, the other with a morerestrained conclusion. The former version, that which is said to appear onstage to this day, is similar to "Hanami-Ogi" ("Flower Viewing Fan") andI have not been able to find a source that discusses the historical aspect of thestructural links between these stories.This discussion is based upon the textual data I was able to obtain, which may notcover every possible detail of the written texts of all the stories. The bibliographicinformation concerning the different textual versions of the five stories which I wasable to examine is provided in the appendix.95"Sutoku-in" ("Ex-Emperor Sutoku"; cf. Sanyatei En'u I 1908; YanagiyaKosen 1929-1930, 1935a, 1935b; Rakugo Zenshfi 1962; Yanagiya Kingor61927). The poem on the fan in this version of "Sara-ya" is the same as inthe other two. However, this "Sara-ya" continues with a ghost story afterthe happy ending (cf. Shunpritei Rylishi, 1910). Still another versiontranscribed and published in 1910, said to have been performed byShunplitei Ryfishi, has an additional episode: after finding each other again,the couple weds. The couple desires children, but the wife cannot conceive;they choose to bring in a concubine, Okiku, to bear a child for them, butOkiku commits suicide, not able to withstand the jealous wife's harshtreatment. Okiku's ghost then haunts their house."Chazuke Wirer ("Meal-Time Ghost") is structurally the closest tothe original skit by Sakuragawa Jihinari, and therefore to the main story of"Sannen-me." "Chazuke Yfirei" shares the same basic plot (the wifepredeceases her husband and comes to visit him as a ghost) with both"Sannen-me" and Jihinari's story. It shares the latter's setting (a man eatinghis lunch when his late wife appears), and the same ending (the ghost is tooafraid to come back at night; Koten Rakugo Taikei, 1974). The ending of"Sannen-me" retains the comedic foundation of "Chazuke Yfirei," that is,the untimely return of the wife's ghost.However, in many written versions of "Sannen-me" (both older andmore recent ones), the basic romantic, happy-ending motif (as in "Hanami-Ogi" and "Sutoku-in") appears in the makura or introduction (cf. EdoRakugo Meisaku Sen 1969; Koten Rakugo Zenshfi 1973; Rakugo Zenshfi1952; Sanyfitei Ensh6 V 1935; Sanyfitei EnshO IV 1961, 1980). This96makura is then followed by the main story described above. For example, awritten text published in 1935, with a note that it was performed bySanyfitei Ensh6 V, contains a makura in which the narrator explains how amatch-maker made his or her career in the old days — by faking a "love-at-first-sight" story to arrange a marriage. This makura was often re-used,without significant changes, by the late Ensh6 VI, the adapted son of Ensh6V.2. Performance StructureBefore examining the specific structural characteristics of Charaku'sperformance, two important aspects of its general structure need to bediscussed. One is the basic formal elements of rakugo performance andtheir sequential patterning, and the other is the structural distinctionbetween the genres mentioned earlier, ninjO -banashi and otoshi-banashi.As related in the previous chapter, a rakugo performance usuallyconsists of three parts, the makura (introduction), the hanashi (main story),and the ochi (ending/punch-line). However, there are two other features:prologue and epilogue. In the prologue, a performer may refer to himself orherself in relation to the general unfolding of the performance event, orcomment on something which has happened immediately preceding his orher appearance. In either case, a prologue marks the transition from oneperformance to another, and it has no necessary relation to the thematicstructure of the particular story chosen for the performance. The epilogues,naturally enough, mark the conclusion of the performer's turn, after the endof the story has been signaled by the punch-line. Again, the epilogues aretransitional, signaling an imminent shift from one performer to another,97from one type of performance to another type, or even the end of aprogramme. Verbal realization of these additional elements is notobligatory. However, we may interpret the performers' bows, opening andending, as the minimum non-verbal realization of prologue and epilogue.This is justifiable when we consider the stylistic significance of thesebows, the fact that each performer tries to make his or her bow distinct andimpressive .4The most common subdivision in contemporary rakugo is thatbetween its two subgenres, ninjO-banashi and otoshi-banashi. NinjO-banashi literally means "human-feeling story," and the best non-technicaldescription for it is perhaps tragicomedy. Although it ends with a comicalpunch-line, and humor (though often subtle) is used constantly, it alwayscontains underlying pathos (Nagai 1971b: 223). NinjO-banashi is comedyonly in the Classical sense: 5 its primary purpose is not to elicit laughter but4 This observation about the bows is based upon my native knowledge about rakugo.I have been told by many rakugo fans (including my parents) how they even judgethe quality of a performance or a performer just by examining the way theperformer enters and bows.Charaku also told me that when he bows he tries to keep his entire upper body low,not just his neck and shoulders, in order to make his bow appear humble and polite.5 A ninjO -banashi might also be called a comedy in the Greek sense, which does nothave to be farcical. Norwood writes, "Comedy is that type of drama which employsaction tolerably close to real life and an expression light, charming, oftenlaughable. Allied to comedy, and often confused with it, is farce, which may bedefined as exaggurated comedy: its problem is unlikely and absurd, its actionludicrous and one-sided, its manner entirely laughable. Some of the finest worksincluded under the conventional title of 'Greek Comedy' should in strictness becalled farce' (Norwood 1931: 1). Henderson (1990: 389-390) similary states, "The98to communicate moral values presumed to be universal. For this reason, thepunch-line of a ninjO-banashi often appears awkwardly "pasted in": 6 thiscomical punch-line has become the symbolic essence of contemporaryrakugo regardless of genre. Otoshi-banashi, on the contrary, is farce; itaims at evoking laughter from the audience. Although otoshi-banashi isoften highly satiric, the message of the story must be well balanced bylaughter. Consequently, the representation of human pathos and moralvalues are not as important to otoshi-banashi as they are to ninjii-banashi(cf. Anada 1989: 125).Although there is a tendency for native researchers to define rakugogenres in terms of story ("stories A and B are ninjO-banashi"), 7 a genericComic Poets of fifth-century Athens aimed, in the words of the Initiate-Chorus ofFrogs , 'to say much that is humorous and much that is serious, and to win the prizeby playfulness and mockery, worthy of the festival.' For students of Old Comedy,`humorous' and 'playfulness' are relatively unproblematic: the words and actionsof the performers would make the spectators laugh. But the claim to be 'serious'raises serious issues about the genre of Old Comedy, for the poets consistently saidthat their advice and admonishment to the spectators were true and just, that theirexplicit and often mordantly abusive treatment of individuals (through 'mockery')would purify the polis and advance the people's interests, and that their portrayal ofcontemporary reality, however novel or facetious, was essentially believable"(Henderson: 271).6 See, for example, EnshO 1961: 86.7 See Anada 1989: 125, for example. Morioka and Sasaki define ninje-banashi withmore focus on the thematic content: to them, ninfO-banashi is a "blanket term forvarious types of sympathy-arousing stories which picture complications of life witha gentle touch of humor and irony" (Morioka and Sasaki 1990: 450) Nagai (1971b:233) similarly points out the importance of ninjo--- human feeling, or what I morebluntly called pathos — as the determining element of ninjO-banashi. He goes asfar as to state that it is not the "script" (daihon) of a ninid-banashi that gives it99distinction is better realized through structural features specific to eachgenre. The same story can easily be given two different story types, forexample, one otoshi-banashi, and the other ninjO-banashi.The major structural device which enables such generic patterning ismetanarration. Babcock defines metanarration as follows:(Metanarration) may refer to the performance itself and the genreto which it belongs, and/or the performer and his audience, [and]a metanarrational comment may refer to any of these factorsconstituting the speech event and may be either metacommu-nicative or metalinguistic or both....In metanarration the subjectof discourse is the narrative itself and those elements by which itis constituted and communicated (Babcock 1977: 68)Dundes (1966) used a more specific term, "metafolklore," to address thephenomenon of reflexivity in storytelling; and Zellig Harris (1963: 340-50)coined the term "metadiscourse" to refer to narrative discourse aboutnarrative discourse. Labov and Waletzky similarly discussed the"evaluative function" of narrative as opposed to the "referential function."The former, contained in certain narrative units, shapes the narrative into ameaningful pattern (Labov and Waletzky 1967: 13, 33-41). In short,metanarration is the structural frame which defines narration within thespecific interpretive mode — the story within the story.authority and its generic identity but its "representation and technique" (enshutsuand gihi3) which enable a story to "exuviate" (dappi) from otoshi-banashi to ninjbanashi Anada's view is in harmony with my discussion here, except that I use theterm "metanarration" to replace his more general terms "representation" (enshutsu),and "techniques" (gih6).100The following discussion is concerned with three major metanarrativedevices common to the rakugo prologue, the makura, and the kusuguri.The prologue establishes the mode, the frame within which theperformance to follow should be understood. As we have mentioned, theliteral meaning of makura is "pillow": a pillow upon which the main storyis placed — embedding a narrative within another narrative. Kusuguri, the"tickler," is a comical device used within the main story to evaluate thedevelopment of the story, in order to elicit the audience's participation inthe form of laughter. Since the yose setting symbolically asserts, throughthe omission of story titles, that an audience should be familiar with theplot of most stories that are told, an expert audience will anticipate findingout not which story is to be told but how it is to be told. Through theintentional manipulation of these metanarrative devices, each performerframes his or her story in a distinct way.In the case of Charaku, EnshO, and "Sannen-me," the plot of the storywas the same, but the two performers made of it versions which belongedto different rakugo subgenres. In creating his own "Sannen-me," Charakuhad two main artistic foci. In an interview, he said that one of his majorconcerns was to perform a fine piece, 8 rather than to create a comicmasterpiece (SanshOtei Charaku 1992b). He was trying to do this by afocus on portraying two young women, one who was healthy, and one whowas dying. His "Sannen-me" is thus characterized by a highly restrainedhumor throughout the story; most particularly, by a restricted use of8 The term Charaku used to describe the kind of story he had in mind is kireinahanashi, a "beautiful story" (SanshOtei Charaku 1992b).101kusuguri. This, coupled with the romantic undertone established by aselective use of particular lexical items and expressions, make it atragicomedy — a ninjO -banashi.In the immediate task of constructing his story, Charaku used the lateSanyiltei EnshO VI's texts of "Sannen-me," one written and one televised,as models.9 However, both of EnshO's versions appear to be firmly withinthe genre of otoshi - banashi, with more frequent and less semanticallyrestricted use of overtly vulgar expressions within makura and in kusuguri.EnshO's determination to perform "Sannen-me" as otoshi - banashi isevident in his comment that "the ending for this story should be short andlight, for that is the key point of an otoshi-banashi" (Sanyiltei EnshO 1961:87).The following chart, "Structural Description of the Three Texts,"summarizes the most significant verbal structural features of the three textscreated by the two different performers. For the prologue, only the datafrom Charaku's performance is available, because EnshO's prologue wasaccidentally cut off in the videotaped version and eliminated in the literarytext. However, we can see from Charaku's prologue, "Anecdote," that it ismeant to signal the transition from the openly comical performance normthat preceded him to a more serious and restrained one. In his makura,Charaku reworked only a small part of EnshO's makura from the televisedversion, the story which I term the "louse skit." While in both versions,The written text is taken from Koten Rakugo Meijin kai (1969-1970). The televisedversion is from "Ohay6 Meijin Yose" broadcast by NHK. Unfortunately, the dateof its first showing is not available.102Ensho's makura is highly comical, Charaku's makura is characterized by asharply restrained use of humor and elimination of the elements thatunderlie a romantic theme. And in the hanashi (main story), although bothperformers used exactly the same nine-unit plot structure (initial situation,absenting, interdiction, plan, motivation, plan fails, violation ofinterdiction, memorial visit, vengeance), their versions conformed to thedifferent structural patterns expected for otoshi-banashi and ninjO-banashi.Charaku's use of kusuguri was much less frequent and more semanticallyrefined than that of EnshO; here, Charaku again attempted to enhance theromantic theme and impart a gentle and delicate feminine beauty. I willlook more closely at these structural aspects in the table and discussionbelow.103Structural Description of the Three TextsCharaku^EnshO^Ensile,(live) (written) (live/T.V.)Prologue:"anecdote"^ (missing)^(missing)Makura ("pillow")5) louse skit1) "Id"^1)2) yin and yang^#2)3) dialect 3)4) definition of ghost^4)5)6) ideal marriage^6)Hanashi ("main story")1) Initial situationb) rice cracker2) Absentinga) divide food^a)b) rice cracker b)3) Interdictionc) loving care^c)^ c)d) #night alone^d) night alone^d)e) pussycat4) Planf) foolish promise^f) 01045) Motivationg) sheath^g)^ g)— h) meet ghost^h)i) Charaku^—j) carefree girl^i)— k) dear ghost^k)1) loud snoring 1)Farting skitm) falling^m)n) wasting electricity^n)o) wedding-night dialogue o)^ o)6) Plan fails— 1))q) next-door neighbor q)^ q)r) coming from far^r) r)away7) Violation of interdictions) charcoal ball^s) charcoal ball8) Memorial visit— t) fencer^t)u) gay quarter^u) u)9) Vengeancev) no sweat^v)^ v)w) bullhead w) w)x) like a bat^x) x)y) wise ghost y)^ y)PU) #hair kami^PU) hair ke^PU) hair ke"—" means absence of the feature"#" indicates a structural variation"PU" means the punch lineThe letters a) to y) indicate the subdivisions of verbal kusuguri105PrologueAs soon as Charaku appeared on the stage, a young member of theaudience in the front row called out "Here you are!" Charaku's responsesignaled that his story was not going to be as entertaining as what precededhis. This was done indirectly, by means of an anecdote about a fellow whohad previously greeted him with "finally, here you are!" and had then leftthe theater to go to the bathroom, saying that he would not be in danger ofmissing anything thereby.Charaku's performance had been preceded by a series of overtlycomical performances, including otoshi -banashi acts. His prologue did notmerely modestly disclaim his popularity, but also conveyed to the audiencethe transition from openly comical norms of interpretation and interactionto more serious and restrained ones — those expected of ninjO -banashi.EnshO's written text had begun with the makura. In the televisedversion of his performance, the first few moments was unfortunately lost,so I do not know what form EnshO's spoken prologue took. However, sincethis televised version was a copy from Charaku's own collection, I believehis copy must also have lacked the initial part.This prologue is an important example of how audience participationinfluences the verbal structure of a story. Not only does the comment fromthe audience, "matte-mashita!" ("Here you are!") form an integral part ofthe final story, but it becomes so in a situation-specific way. It is interestingto observe that there is a strong tendency for a literary text, even a detailed106transcription, to omit the prologue and begin directly with the makura. Thismay indicate that due to the highly interactive, audience -dependent natureof prologues, they were not considered properly a part of the rakugo storyby textual editors. Nonetheless, prologues, as a metanarrative device, arejust as much an integral part of the performance structure as the makuraand the main story. Prologues situate the performance event in anappropriate context, adjusting it for the particular audience beingaddressed, and conveying to them the proper limits of their evaluative foci.Makura (introduction)In this introductory section, the performer typically attempts togradually lead the audience into the theme or topic of the story, byaddressing seasonally, socially, or politically relevant topics, or providingproverbs or parables related to the main story. The length of the makura istypically no more than five minutes for a twenty-minute performance, butthis can easily be modified according to the judgment of the performer.Charaku, for instance, prefers his makura to be short and to the point,which is evident in his makura for "Sannen-me."Charaku's makura consisted of a short story which is a humorousexpansion of a traditional proverb, "even a one-inch insect has a half-inchsoul" ("even a worm will turn"). He introduces it as an anecdote he heardfrom his late master, SanshOtei Karaku, a well-respected hanashika whoexcelled in telling ninj '6 -banashi. A traveling entertainer stays at a shabbyinn, and finds a louse inside his kimono neck band, plump with his blood.Rather than killing it immediately, he decides to torture it by trapping it in107a little hole in a pillar with a plug of crumpled paper. After ten months, hereturns to the same inn and remembers the louse. He finds the louse still inthe hole, dried up and barely able to move; but when he puts it on his palm,it bites him. Out of pity he lets it suck his blood, but finally it bites into amain vein and kills him. The story ends with a punch line, shiranu gahotoke, which can be translated as "(this story is called) ignorance is blice(bliss)." I refer to it below as the "louse skit."Although Charaku states that this anecdote originated with his masterKaraku, it is in fact taken from EnshO's televised version. Except for a fewminor details, the verbal structure of the louse skit as found there isunchanged. In EnshO's version, however, the louse skit is only part of themakura — he also uses several shorter gags and skits, making his makuralonger than that of Charaku. 10 EnshO, in succession, discusses the power of"ki" or feeling as the source of a ghost (1); notes the concepts of yin andyang, as a ghost is associated with the yin (2); comments on the dialectvariation in a ghost's self-introductory statement (3); reflects on a ghost asa "dimly-present-spirit," based on the interpretation of the Chinesecharacters for "ghost" (4); performs the louse skit (5); and finally,characterizes an ideal marriage as peaceful, but not overly romantic andaffectionate (6). With the sole exception of the louse skit, these elements10 This may be due not only to stylistic differences but also to a difference in the timeavailable for their performances. Ensh8's was about 25 minutes while Charaku'swas about 22 minutes.108appear fundamentally unchanged in his written text. 11 These skits,especially (3), are accompanied by humorous gestures and exaggeratedfacial expressions.The style of Charaku's makura differs from EnshO's in two majorrespects: a more restrained use of comical expressions, and an openassertion of his lineage affiliation. Charaku's makura contains far fewergags and humorous skits than that by EnshO. Consequently, Charaku'saudience laughed far less than EnshO's. This is due not only to theelimination of Ensh6's gags and humorous skits, but also to Charaku'sediting of the one story he did use, the louse skit — again he omittedcomical touches such as mimicry of the lifeless louse's face. This comedicrestraint is constantly present throughout Charaku's performance — it isone of the requirements for ninAbanashi. His mention of Karaku's namealso harmonizes with the ninjO-banashi framework, for it indicates astylistic affiliation with his late master. Although many members of theaudience would not be familiar with Karaku's work, experts (regulars andrakugo fan club members) 12 would understand the significance of this11 In yet other written versions of his "Sannen-me," his 1961 and 1980 texts, Ensh6uses a considerably different makura, one that is very similar to Ensh6 V's makurafor his "Sannen-me," as discussed earlier in the section on literary sources.12 I am making this assertion based upon (1) my observation of the yose audience asdiscussed in Chapter Three, (2) the availability and popularity of the ethnographicworks on rakugo also discussed there, and (3) Charaku's comments on the expertsin the audience. He said that regulars often knew more about the history of rakugoand rakugo performers than the performers did themselves. Therefore, manyperformers, including Charaku, keep an open mind about the regulars' commentson their performance, which is often delivered verbally backstage, soon after the109assertion, and would recall the time of Karaku, when a star was alwaysexpected to perform ninjO-banashi.There is another significant modification Charaku makes in hismakura, this time a thematic one. His elimination of Ensh8's final makuraelement, the comment on the ideal marriage, establishes a romantic andaffectionate undertone for the main story. Here, EnshO had said "a homeshould be peaceful; it is no good if neighbors say that the couple is alwaysfighting — but if a couple loves each other too much, always together, thenpeople around them are annoyed by them." Since an important theme of themain story is the social practice of arranged marriage, this approvalbestowed on "moderate" behavior by a married couple promotes theacceptance of marriage as a permanent social institution (as in Confucianideals). Charaku's elimination of this element again accords with hisintention to create a "lovely" piece, emphasizing a romantic tie that persistsbeyond a partner's death, despite the social practice of arranged marriagesand re-marriages. 13Hanashi (main story)A kusuguri is a comical expression used to eliciting the audience'sattention to, and participation in, the story. One of the most importantstructural features of rakugo is the freedom that hanashika enjoy to imparta particular and personal shape to a given story (whose plot is often alreadyperformance. At the time of his performance at Yoshiike, Charaku confirmed thatone such regular (with whom he is acquainted) was present.13 Charaku also said in an interview that he felt it would be so "boring" to justify agood marriage in this story (SanshOtei Charaku 1992b).110known to the audience). It is therefore understandable that there is anunwritten rule not to use someone else's kusuguri without his or herpermission (SanshOtei Charaku 1992b).A kusuguri can be as subtle and erotic as in 3)-e), "pussycat." Thisoccurs in Charaku's performance, as part of the husband's response to hisdying wife who has requested that he never remarry after her death: "omaega shinda-ra mesuneko ippiki hiza-no ue ni nose-ya shinai kara" ("If youdie, I swear I'll never put on my lap even a tiny pussycat"). At the otherextreme, it can be an open gag, as with 1)-b) "rice cracker." This comeswhen the husband asks his sick wife to tell him what he can do to make herfeel better: "O.K., tell me what's bothering you. I'll do anything for you.Anything I will do, I swear, but only things that I can do, like, don't ask meto bite rice crackers with my eyes."Kusuguri also function to distinguish ninjO -banashi from otoshi-banashi. Because the goal of an otoshi -banashi is to establish a comicalperspective on the narrative content, it makes abundant use of kusuguri.NinjO -banashi, on the contrary, relies far less upon kusuguri. They aresignificant here only to the extent that they help the audience to follow thestory, and to avoid boredom. Although there is no fixed rule for thefrequency or kinds of kusuguri which distinguish ninjO - banashi fromotoshi -banashi, a hanashika must plan their use carefully according to thepurpose of the performance. A ninjO -banashi often requires more subtlekusuguri than those in otoshi -banashi because the kusuguri must notinterfere with the ethical overtones of the story.111Although both performers used exactly the same plot structure, orstory-schema, their versions harmonized with the different structuralpatterns for their respective genres. Charaku's use of kusuguri was muchless frequent and more semantically restrictive than EnshO's. His kusuguriand the selection of lexical items to express them shows a tendencytowards semantic refinement, to enhance the romantic theme and establisha gentle and delicate "feminine" beauty. However, before going further, weneed to identify the basic story structure shared by both performers. In sodoing, I will use the framework proposed by Vladimir Propp.Story SchemaPropp (1968: xi) states that the structure or formal organization of afolkloric text can be described by following the chronological order of itslinear sequence of elements. These elements are called the "functions" —the functions of the dramatis personae — of a tale. Each of them is afundamental narrative unit, making this a morphological approach. 14 Thesefunctions can be represented by nouns or short phrases; and I will refer tothe pattern by which these functions are organized as a schema, the termused in cognitive science to designate an underlying pattern of knowledgerepresentation and/or organization (cf. Rice 1980). The story schema of"Sannen-me" can thus be analyzed as follows:1. Initial situation : there is a young married couple. The wife hasbeen ill, and the husband is doing his best to care for her.14 Dundes (1975: 74) calls this function "motifeme."1122. Absentation: wife is dying.3. Interdiction: as her last wish, she requests the husband never toremarry.4. Plan: the husband asks the wife to come back as a ghost on hiswedding night so as to ruin any marriage that might be arrangedby his relatives, and she agrees to do so.5. Violation of the interdiction is motivated (Motivation): after thewife's death, the relatives arrange another marriage for him, andthe wedding takes place.6. Plan fails: the wife's ghost fails to appear on the wedding night.7. Violation of interdiction: the man settles down with his new wifeand they have a child.8. Memorial visit: the man pays a visit to his late wife's grave andperforms a memorial service for her on the third year after herdeath.9. Vengeance: wife's ghost appears to him and blames him for hisdishonesty. She gets her revenge on him not by destructivemeans, but rather by impressing upon him the permanence of heraffections. 1515 Odd-sounding terms such as "absentation," "interdiction," and "motivation" wereoriginally introduced by Propp in his functional analysis of folktales.113This schema is a variation of a basic pattern common to many popularghost stories or karma tales such as "Yotsuya Kaidan" ("The Ghost Tale ofYotsuya") and "BanchO Sarayashiki" ("The Haunted House of Dishes"),which will be discussed shortly. The most basic pattern for these storiesinvolves "absentation," "interdiction," "violation of interdiction," and"vengeance." Absentation marks the state of someone's death or impendingdeath, caused by natural or human forces such as disease or homicide. Thisis a precondition for a ghost to appear or a reincarnation to take place.Interdiction may involve any form of regulation which comes about relatedto the death or the person dying, violation of which will bring a curse onthe violator. When this violation takes place, it is revenged by the ghost.This pattern seems to capture an essential Buddhist ethical principle, theidea of karma — if you do harm to a life form, retribution will be exactedon you after death..The schema in "Sannen-me" is one variation on a pattern observed inmany well-known ghost stories from the Edo period. In TsuruyaNanboku's "Yotsuya Kaidan" ("The Ghost Tale of Yotsuya"), for example,an unemployed samurai tries to murder his sick wife because of his desireto marry a wealthy merchant's mistress; for his part, the old merchantwishes to give her to this young samurai, even though she is pregnant withhis child (absentation). Having been requested by the merchant to secretlypoison his wife (interdiction), he orders a pseudo-monk who helps aroundtheir household to lie to her that the poison is medicine (plan). However,the wife gradually notices that she is getting worse (motivation). On herdeathbed, the monk tells her about the husband's plan (plan fails), and so114she discovers that she has been betrayed by her husband (violation ofinterdiction). The wife's ghost drives the husband mad and he kills themerchant's family and himself (vengeance; Tanaka, KiitarO 1970: 222-228).In another well-known ghost story, "BanchO Sarayashiki" ("TheHaunted House of Dishes"), a similar pattern can be observed. A youngmaid throws herself into a well (absentation) because she accidentallybreaks one of the special dishes her lord ordered her to keep safely, and isthus in danger of suffering harsh punishment at his hands (interdiction andviolation of interdiction). Her ghost haunts the house, appearing at night,endlessly counting the number of dishes (vengeance; Tanaka, KOtarO 1970:220-221)."Sannen-me," however, contains an extra element, the "memorialvisit." This function is often part of a ghost story, because a memorial visitto a deceased person's grave or attendance at a memorial service provides asymbolic link between this world and the world of the dead. This in turnprovides a bridge through which the dead spirit can access the living tocarry out its revenge.KusuguriCharaku's kusuguri are for the most part identical to those of EnshO;however, he drops several that would interfere with the atmosphere he istrying to create. The same motivation can be seen behind the cases whenEnshO's kusuguri are modified, and when he adds new kusuguri of his115own. In the next few paragraphs, we will elaborate further on these twopoints.a) EliminationCharaku employed 18 kusuguri in all, while EnshO had 22 in hiswritten text and 21 in his televised performance. Although the numbersshow no dramatic quantitative difference, Charaku's kusuguri include twonew ones: he omitted five that were common to both of EnshO's texts.Even more important, he dropped a relatively long farcical skit made up oftwo kusuguri sequences 16 — the "farting skit" of the chart. The firstkusuguri of this skit is a comical portrayal of a senior couple who freelyfart at each other. The second kusuguri concerns their sleeping behavior:the wife yells at the husband not to waste electricity by staying up, butwhen she sleeps she snores so loudly that the husband cannot go to sleep.This skit is inserted just before the wedding night scene, where theman and his new bride engage in a suggestive conversation. This is in themidst of the story, where the transition from a tragic event (first wife'sdeath) to a happy event (wedding) has just occurred. Thus the skit can bethought of as an interlude, a comic act played by clowns. In EnshO'stelevised version, this skit is greeted by a burst of laughter in the audience.For Enshii, this is a major attention-getter, for the contrastive context it setsup prior to the young couple's wedding night's conversation.16 This relatively long "farting" skit is a kusuguri in the broad sense. This type ofinsertion is more specifically known among performers as hamekomi, literally"inlay" (SanshOtei Charaku 1993).116However, Charaku sees it quite differently: as a disruptive element inthe story. Although he recognizes Ensh8 as a great hanashika, he feels thatthis skit is esthetically unacceptable in this context. 17 The scene where thesenior couple — the clowns — fart, for example, is something he "neverwants to perform" (SanshOtei Charaku 1992b). His attitude is under-standable when we remember that he is relating the story within the frame-work of the ninjO -banashi genre. This farcical insertion metaphoricallyrepresents an external evaluative viewpoint on the physically imposedlimits to the romantic: love ages, sweet words change to odorousflatulence, and beauty deteriorates into monstrous or farcical images. Onemight point out in mitigation that this skit, when paired with the newly-weds' scene, emphasizes the persistence of the marital tie rather thanpossibly transient feelings of affection. Nevertheless, Charaku sees it asundermining the romantic theme, the perpetual spiritual union of the twolovers. 18 Also, since the skit involves the depiction of an old woman'sunpleasant behavior and expressions, it is incompatible with Charaku'spurpose of depicting youthful feminine charm.17 In fact, Charaku and I disagreed over the two versions of "Sannen-me." I thoughtboth EnchO's and Charaku's versions were equally artistically valid; Charaku didnot like EnshO's style in this particular story (SanshOtei Charaku 1993).18 Charaku said in an interview that he wanted to maintain a subtle balance betweenthe 'real' and the 'imagined.' He said that it would be all too easy to laugh at afunny punch line, fully realizing the story to be fictional; but he could not help butto pose such questions as "What happens if she really did come back? Perhapsprettier and healthier than before? What would happen the morning after, and theday after? Can a man truly love two women? " (Sanshettei Charaku 1992b).117The same considerations dictate the elimination of other kusuguri. Thekusuguri 1)-a) "divide food" on chart A is used where the dying wifesuspects that the husband is keeping something from her. He tells her thathe shares everything with her, "even the food, if there's only one thing toeat, we divide it into two, two into four, well, except we can't eat anythingwhen there's nothing to eat." This skit indicates the practical, profane sideof marital life — economic management and related domestic matters.These features would again blur Charaku's focus on the deeper and morepersonal commitment by the two lovers.EnshO's 5)-1) "snore loud" and 8)-t) "fencer" are two more segmentsthat would conflict with Charaku's intentions. 5)-1) occurs when thenarrator comments, just before the "farting skit," that the man cannot go tosleep on his the wedding night because he is waiting for his wife's ghost;the new wife, observing his restless behavior, and also restless because ofthe occasion, is equally sleepless, covering this by snoring loudly. Thedescription of the wife's behavior is eliminated in Charaku's text primarilybecause of this "snoring loudly." In 8)-u) "fencer," the second wife isdescribed as having "the forehead of a fencer" because after giving birth totheir child her front hair thinned out. Again, the association of a baldforehead with a young mother is incompatible with Charaku's conceptionof the story.b) Modification and AdditionThe cases where EnshO's kusuguri are used with modification, andthose where new kusuguri are added by Charaku, are both governed by the118same considerations. Charaku's 3)-d) "night alone" is a case in point. 3)-d)is an expression with sexual connotations: the dying wife says to herhusband, who has promised never to remarry, "You are only saying that; Iknow very well how difficult it is for you to spend a night alone." Thiskusuguri appears in EnshO's written text, but there, the wife says, "You areonly saying that; I know very well that you cannot be alone."The "night alone" kusuguri occurs between two others: 3)-c) "lovingcare," also found in EnshO's text, and 3)-e) "pussy cat," unique toCharaku's version. Both are polysemic expressions with sexualconnotations. 3)-c) occurs when the wife tells the husband that she cannotstand the thought of him caring for his new wife in the same way he hascared for her. Her speech contains the word kawaigaru, which can betranslated either "to be affectionate to" or "to caress." As we have alreadysaid, 3)-e) occurs when the husband tries to assure his wife that he will notremarry: "If you die, I'll never put on my lap even a tiny pussy cat."Although EnshO's original "cannot be alone" has a definite sexualconnotation, Charaku's "night alone" further enhances the seductivenuance.An interesting case of the addition of a new kusuguri is 5)-i). Here,describing how handsome the man is who just lost his wife, Charaku namesthree Japanese entertainers, two of whom are young, fresh-looking, popularactors (perhaps Japanese counterparts to Tom Cruise and Michael J. Fox,as I and Charaku came to agree). The third is none other than Charakuhimself. However, the weight of the third figure, Charaku, is definitely lessthan the first two: he says that this man is a mixture between actor A and119actor B, sprinkled with a bit of SanshOtei Charaku. The selection of thesetwo young popular figures is in order with the general soft, romanticundertones of Charaku's story — it is definitely not random, for he couldhave chosen more mature or masculine stars instead.Finally, the punch line contains an important lexical modification. Thepunch line is given by the wife's ghost who tries to excuse herself for thelate return: "I waited until my hair grew back, because if I showed up as anun, I knew you wouldn't like me any more." There are two words inJapanese which mean hair, ke and kami. Ke means hair in general, whereaskami is specifically hair that grows on the human head. While EnshO usedke for hair in both texts, Charaku changed ke to kami. This modificationagain harmonizes with Charaku's aesthetic focus on feminine beauty. Asapparent in such commonly used expressions as "kami wa onna no inochi"("hair is a woman's life"), long shiny hair is a symbol of not only femininebeauty but also womanly life force. The possibly dangerous ways in whichsuch a force might be realized is made evident by the common associationof a female ghost with her long, disordered hair, which is more readilyperceived as frightening than as ugly. 193. Cultural Construction of Genre:A Pragmatic Analysis of the PerformanceOur discussion of rakugo subgenres has up to now focused on theirformal properties. But just as much as the genres conform to the structural19 This frightening image of female ghosts is clearest in many of the works ofMaruyama Okyo, a distinguished painter of the late Edo period.120patterns unique to each one, their pragmatic dimensions delineate theirfunctions in cultural contexts. Ben-Amos writes:Genres function in culture by means of sets of distinctivefeatures which are operative on cognitive, pragmatic, andexpressive levels....The performance in designated persons, inrelation to, or within the frame of, sets of appropriate occasionsand situations, comprise the pragmatic generic features. (Ben-Amos1982: 80)Hence, the genres ninjO-banashi and otoshi-banashi are assigned differentpragmatic situations, and the performance of the stories belonging to eachgenre must meet the social/cultural requirements specific to the genre.However, an examination of the performer's conformity to such socialexpectations cannot and will not reveal the whole complexity of thecommunicative event. Being thoroughly familiar with the genericrequirements, both structural and social, a performer may choose tomanipulate such expectations, to go beyond the requirements and evaluatethe conventional norms. The tension between the performer's creativeintent and the social expectations is thus resolved through the carefulbalancing between his or her conformity with, and challenges to, traditionand social expectations. This will involve the use of polysemic expressivedevices to capture dual messages — one conformist, and the otherchallenging — at the same time.In the following paragraphs, we will look at the pragmaticconstruction of the two rakugo sub-genres, and examine how Charakuattempted to balance these two seemingly opposed forces, convention andinnovation, to produce a unique assertion of his artistic identity.121Pragmatic Dimensions of Rakugo SubgenresNinjO -banashi and otoshi -banashi fit into different social contexts,just as much as they conform to different structural patterns. Althoughthere are a large number of pragmatic dimensions thorough which ninj13 -banashi can be distinguished from otoshi -banashi, I will only discuss a fewof the most salient below: status, situation, and artistic attitudes.The status of a performer is an important factor for defining who mayperform ninje• -banashi. In the past, a shin' uchi was expected to master theninjO -banashi presentation of his selection. Today, however, the majorityof shin' uchi no longer perform ninjii -banashi (Anada 1989: 125).Moreover, it is extremely rare for a futatsume to perform ninjii -banashi: ifhe or she ever does, it will most likely be done outside the yose, in a moreprivate setting.Otoshi - banashi, on the other hand, can be performed by eithershin' uchi or futatsume. However, these do not have equal freedom to selectstories within the genre. Shin' uchi, of course, have the liberty to chooseany story they please, but a futatsume should obtain permission from hismentors when planning to perform a new, more challenging story.There is also a clear difference between ninjO -banashi and otoshi-banashi in relation to where and when they can be performed. While aninjO -banashi performance is most commonly reserved for the tori, thefinal star performer of a yose (or yose -like) programme, an otoshi-banashi122may be performed anywhere within the programme, including the finalposition.Finally, the audiences' attitudes towards the genres clearly differ. Anotoshi -banashi is expected to be funny, and this is the case even when thestory is a political satire.20 A nin16 -banashi, on the contrary, requires more"serious" participation — too much laughter might interfere with thedramatic flow of the story, or create an atmosphere out of harmony with itsunderlying pathos. Thus we have Charaku's express preference not to "playaround with the audience too much" ("kyaku o ijiranai"; SanshoteiCharaku, 1992)Nevertheless, the degree of "seriousness" differs depending upon thechoice of a ninjO -banashi story and the interpretation a performer choosesto give to it. Moreover, speaking from my own observation, the quality ofthe laughter for ninjO -banashi and otoshi-banashi may differ considerably.The kind of laughter appropriate for a ninjO -banashi is often much lessovert and loud than that for an otoshi -banashi. Again, this is in order withthe distinction between the two types of "comedy," farce as opposed to"classical," sense of comedy, the types to which otoshi -banashi and ninjO-banashi respectively correspond.These distinctions are summed up in the following table:20 Often an otoshi-banashi is a juxtaposition of short, comical skits and gags, lackinga clear dramatic sequence. In this sense, it is comparable to stand-up comedy inNorth America.123GenreDimension NINJO-BANASHI OTOSHI-BANASHIStatus shin' uchi shin' uchilfutatsumeSituation tori (final position) allArtistic stance serious non-seriousConformity and challenge: the construction of the artist's identityWhen Charaku was still an apprentice, the audience seats would oftenremain almost empty until the yose programme was half over. Peoplebegan showing up after the "light" performances by the youngerhanashika, to appreciate the stories performed by their seniors. Somewould only come to see the tori, the final performer, and hear his ninjO-banashi. In those days, performers who merely sold laughs to the audiencewere regarded as second-rate, however popular they might become. Masterperformers were expected to excel in ninjO-banashi, in addition to theirrepertoire of otoshi-banashi (SanshOtei Charaku 1992b; see also Anada1989: 125).Today, however, yose norms differ from what they were thirty yearsago. While there are still regulars who form a core of experts, the majorityof the spectators, perhaps two-thirds of them, are what might be termed a"television" audience — people whose primary knowledge of rakugocomes through television and radio broadcasts. Only the ever-thinningranks of the expert audience are aware that telling ninjO-banashi is a124privilege of the tori, and most of the others are not even aware of thedistinction between a ninjO -banashi and an otoshi -banashi. Thus, the yose"tradition" is no longer perceived as "conventional" by the majority of theaudience.Hence, contemporary hanashika face a dilemma: should they play tothe experts, or to the "television" audience. The question of conformity hasalso become more complicated, since a hanashika need not conform to thetraditions of ninj 6 -banashi performance, and yet can be acclaimed as amaster once his or her fame has been established on television. Therefore,the majority of the performers, especially the younger ones, choose to getalong with the "television" audience, and with the new norm which isevidently emerging at the yose.Charaku's resolution of this artistic dilemma is interesting. Byperforming ninid -banashi as a tori, Charaku takes the authoritative path.He was fully aware of the small size of the expert audience at the time ofhis appearance, the group which would understand the intricate rulesoperating at the yose and would appreciate the significance of his art; and itwas to this audience that he geared his performance. But the problem is thatthis inevitably entails elements of a tradition that the "television" audience,the numerical majority, is not familiar with. By conforming to tradition, hechallenges the current yose norm shared by the majority of the audience.But how does he deal with this dual structure of expectation in the audienceand still retain an authoritative stance?Charaku, in fact, sees his commitment to the tradition as a kind ofpedagogical mission. He repeatedly said in our interview that he would be125glad if an audience, having seen his performance, discovered that there wasyet another world of rakugo that she or he had never suspected theexistence of (SanshOtei Charaku 1992b). In this sense, Charaku'sperformance is an open-ended reflection on rakugo as an art genre. Toachieve this pedagogical goal he needs to carefully frame his performancein such a way that the "television" audience would not be intimidated, butthat at the same time their immediate expectations concerning rakugowould be called into question. 21This pedagogical project is disclosed most clearly by two instances ofpragmatic polysemy, where the same expression encapsulates a differentmessage for the two kinds of audiences, one general and one specific. Here,by means of apparent narrative discourse, he asserts his artistic identity asunpopular and classical. They are the entire prologue, and in the "louseskit" in the makura where he mentions his lineage tie with the lateSanshOtei Karaku.As we have already mentioned, Charaku's prologue consists of ananecdote about a man who walked out on him. The following is atranscription and translation:Kono-aida-mo yahari o-kyaku-san-de, atakushi ga agari-masita-ra, matte-mashita, taihen yorokonda-n-desu-keredo-mo"The other day too, I had someone from the audience call out,`Finally, here you are!' which made me very proud of myself."21 This assertion is based upon my own observation and analysis, although it would beconfirmed by performers.126o-kyaku-san de hanashi o hajime-tara, suutto o-tachi-ni-natte,itumade-mo kaette-konai. Yatto atakushi-no hanashi ga owatta-ra modotte-rasshai-mashita-n-de-ne,"But the moment I began telling the story, this fellow quietlyrose and left the room, and did not return until I finally finishedmy story."o kyaku-san, nan-desu? Matte-mashita-tte itte doko itte-tan-desu?"Hey, you welcomed me by saying 'here you are,' so why didyou then leave?"ya wire itte-tan-dayo. Sakki-kara omoshiroi-kara nakanaka tate-nakatta-n-da-kedo-nee, o-mae-san tsumaranai-kara matte-mashita-to sugu-icchatta-tte"Well, the whole programme has been just so fantastic that Icouldn't even stand up and go to the toilet for a moment. Butwhen your turn came I knew I wouldn't miss anything, so that'swhy I greeted you with 'Finally, here you are!'"Although the anecdote is a story in itself, it is also a multifaceted reflectionon Charaku's own reputation. First and most obviously, it is a device todisclaim his popularity: a humble response to someone's welcoming hisentrance. Yet his 'unpopularity' may be justified in two ways separate fromhis artistic capacity, by the two different types of audience, each of whichwould tend to highlight different semantic dimensions of the expression"omaesan tsumaranai kara" (translated above as "I knew I wouldn't missanything").We can demonstrate this by an examination of the semanticcomplexities of the adjective "tsumaranai" within the context of the127prologue. When "tsumaranai" modifies a thing, an incident, or a person, itmeans that that thing or person is deficient in some quality that he, she, orit would be expected to possess. 22 For example, "tsumaranai hito" meansthat a person (hito) is "boring," "uninteresting," or "unimportant" becauseof the absence of something the speaker deems should be present. Thus thecorrect interpretation of the word "tsumaranai" in the phrase underdiscussion would be the lack of some artistic quality the audience — in thiscase, the 'television' type part of the audience — will expect from a rakugoperformance. It signals that the performance the audience will see mightwell be considered "boring," "unexciting," or "disappointing," deviatingfrom the cheerful yore norm.The honorific function of "tsumaranai" is also important. If a persondescribes his or her own conduct as "tsumaranai" (as Charaku did), it has aself-humbling effect (Shinmura 1983: 1622). The prologue thus indicatethat the performer is humble, that his performance may be less excitingthan those which preceded his, and that it might not meet every expectationof the audience. But at the same time Charaku is also suggesting to theaudience that it should stay with him, by questioning the appropriateness ofthe behavior of the man who walked out on him earlier. Therefore thegeneral message of the prologue might be re-expressed in this way: "you22 There appears to be a semantic link between the verb "tsumaru" and the adjective"tsumaranai." One basic meaning of "tsumaru" is "to fulfil" or "fill." "Tsuma-ranai" also has a basic meaning that is the opposite of "to fulfil" or "fill." TheKiijien, for example, cites meanings (for "tsumaranai") such as "i ni mitanai"(literally, "does not fulfil one's expectation" or a little more creatively, "does notmake full sense") and "tokushin shinai" (literally, "does not come to a fullunderstanding" (Shinmura 1983: 1622)128might walk out on me now if you only expect fun and excitement, like thatfellow the other day. But if you stay, I humbly offer something else,something more subtle, to you."However, these words convey a somewhat differing message to theexpert audience (such as the young fan who called out "Here you are!"). Tothem, "tsumaranai" does not mean any deficiency in artistic quality, butsimply a lack of the comical features characteristic of otoshi-banashi. Thus,"tsumaranai" means "not funny" in this context — Charaku was going totell an "unfunny" story, a ninjO-banashi. Hence, to the expert the prologuecarries a pragmatic message, "thanks for waiting for such an 'unpopular'ninjO-banashi performance."The final touch comes with the immediately following line, "hidoi-me-ni aimashita keredomo" ("Nasty son-of-a-bitch, wasn't he!"). Havingestablished his authority to both levels of the audience, Charaku then usesthis humorous insult to unite them in laughter, and thus in disapprobationof the conduct of the hidoi-me who had walked out on him earlier. To loseinterest, merely because Charaku may lack some of the flashier touches ofthe `television'-style rakugo performer, now entails assuming the label of"nasty son-of-a-bitch," confirmed as appropriate by the collective responseof the listeners.Another place where Charaku creates opportunities to establish thevalidity of his "old-fashioned" skills and define a distinct artistic style iswithin the "louse skit." First, he highlights his classical identity by notinghis association with the late SanshOtei Karaku, a master ninjO-banashi129performer. His lineage tie with this distinguished hanashika signifies, tothose in the know, something much more than just a sign of status (eventhough it is powerful legitimation for Charaku's position as a tori). It is astylistic indicator, which again justifies Charaku's performance of ninjO-banashi. But to the rest of the audience, it means nothing more specificthan a broad bridge to a prestigious lineage tradition which they may havefelt alienated from — perhaps until the very moment when they realizedthat the performer in front of them is its living representative. Second, hisextended digression on "lice" contains some scarcely concealed hints thatthe present generation might profit from paying attention to the past. "Theyoung people today wouldn't know about lice, but these creatures are notyet extinct" is followed by a cautionary reference to a modern physicianwho made a public fool of himself by failing to recognize them, and theconclusion that "I don't think lice belong in the museums quite yet." Theploy here is very subtle, since no-one is likely to draw a conscious parallelbetween the old art of ninjO -banashi and "old" vermin like lice. However,the overall moral of the reference remains clear: to forget knowledge thatwas valued in the past, however irrelevant it might seem to the modernworld, is to invite error, and thus humiliation in front of one's peers.ConclusionAbove, we have examined a rakugo performance as a process ofdynamic communication, during which the performer SanshOtei Charakuattempted to synthesize his individual creativity with tradition, modulatedby contemporary social trends. We studied the ways in which Charaku,based on EnshO's texts, created his own version of the story "Sannen-me."130In so doing, he makes salient the structural and thematic distinctionsinherent in the genres ninjO-banashi and otoshi-banashi. We also comparedthe pragmatic dimensions of the two genres, and looked at how the genreitself may serve as a means for a performer to assert a particular artisticidentity. Finally, we saw how the performer constructed the performance ina way that allowed him to communicate to two different kinds of audiencethe traditional values which remain foundational to contemporary rakugo.Returning to the issue of orality and literacy, this chapter has madeclear that the preservation of the expressive form, whether literary orotherwise, is nonetheless only a textual collection. For a full understandingof the semantic complexity and significance of oral tales such as those inrakugo, one needs to know not only the structural conventions but also thenumerous social and cultural factors and rules that control how they act in agiven performance context: the performer does not present a text whole,but "talks through" it, constantly modifying his original material accordingto his own concepts and the immediate context of his performance. It isonly the contribution of human agents that enables such dynamic anddialectic processing of structural and semantic information to take place,because the act of storytelling is fundamentally interactive. Theexpressions, the plot of the story, even the manner in which the story istold, are mere tools for creative individual expressions, as well as for thelarger purpose of human communication.131Chapter 5Conclusions and Further ProspectsIt is traditional for students of folklore or 'oral literature' to view`orality' — the spoken mode of communication — as inferior to 'literacy,'the written mode. This bias has been expressed in two ways. First, manyhave assumed that orality is technologically inferior to literacy and thusdoomed to vanish in a literate society. In much of the literature, 'oralliterature' have been depicted as legacies from the past, if not fossils,typical products of socially, economically and geographicallymarginalized, illiterate populations. Second, many scholars have alsoassumed that 'oral literature' is characterized by little if any structuralcomplexity, and thus must possess an insignificant esthetic value. 'Oralliterature' has been regarded as collective expression of traditional valuesrather than as an expression of individual, albeit anonymous, creativity.While such views are still influential, there is a growing consensusthat they are inadequate, distorted, and marginalizing. The present studyhas been conducted in the spirit of this more carefully considered approachto 'oral literature,' or more preferably, 'verbal arts.' It examined thecoexistence and interaction between orality and literacy in a Japanesetraditional narrative art known as rakugo.My study demonstrates the interplay between the written text and theperformance, and between the traditional narrative and the dynamics ofperformance. Rakugo is today performed for the public in various Tokyo132theaters, specialized and general; but its professionalization took placeduring the Edo period in the town of Edo, as one result of progressiveurbanization and the economic development of the townspeople. Theprofessional storytellers were only one part of a traditional entertainmentestablishment which also included popular novelists who sought motifsfrom rakugo stories; and the storytellers themselves often wrote works inthe genre of popular literature known as gesaku. The modern rakugorepertoire includes koten rakugo, traditional tales (many from the Edoperiod), and shinsaku rakugo, more modern and innovative stories. Today,rakugo is not only performed on stage but also broadcast regularlynationwide, and its texts are published in large quantities, often authored bythe storytellers themselves.In this case study of rakugo I have examined its oral and literaryaspects from both a socio-historical and a structural-esthetic perspective.Rakugo is rooted in the ancient Buddhist sermon tradition, but it draws onmany other secular oral and literary genres which existed in traditionalJapan. Contemporary rakugo owes many of its structural conventions andmuch of its thematic repertoire to these religious and secular narrative arts,both written and spoken. In the recent past, the language and expressiveconventions of rakugo influenced the formation of the national standard forthe Japanese language, as well as playing a part in the development ofmodern Japanese literature.When composing a rakugo story, contemporary performers commonlyuse both oral and literary resources. In a case which we examined in detail,the contemporary rakugo master Sanshotei Charaku used two texts of the133same story by another performer, one written and one televised, to createhis own version. Yet however useful these texts may be, perfecting arakugo story requires a live audience. We thus examined the estheticdynamics of oral storytelling — the interaction between the performer'screativity, the accepted tradition, and the social norms of the theater, asthey shape the emergent structure and messages of the performance. Wepointed out that the structural complexity and esthetid value of an oralperformance cannot be captured by any text or recording, but must beexperienced in person. This is why rakugo, as an art genre, has beenenjoyed by people in Japan in both the past and the present, regardless ofwhether they were literate or not.This study demonstrated one culturally specific way in which literacyand orality can profitably interact, and showed the continuing significanceof verbal arts to a highly industrialized, literate society. My findings arethus another nail in the coffin of the steadily more discredited claim thatoral traditions are doomed to disappear with the emergence of a literarytradition, and that such traditions are at a hopeless disadvantage whencompeting with literary arts. We cannot presume to deduce a universalpattern from the fact that most oral traditions have died out or beendrastically weakened by the publication explosion in Western societies.This study thus underlines the necessity for students of the oral and theliterary to look deeper into the interaction of those two modes in societieswhere these have been relatively less studied, such as those in Asia.Some work of this kind has indeed been done, and its findings tend tosupport my conclusions here. In her recent book on ritual, Catherine Bell134(1992: 138) has pointed out that "there is little evidence that the emergenceof literacy and the textualization of ritual practices moves through historywith an inexorable logic and definitive set of effects." Drawing on a varietyof studies concerning mixed oral and literary ritual and religious traditionsin Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, and southwestern India, she concludes that...textualization is not an inevitable linear process of socialevolution, as Weber's model of rationalization may seem toimply. The dynamic interaction of texts and rites, reading andchanting, the word fixed and the word preached are practices, notsocial developments of a fixed nature and significance. Aspractices, they continually play off against each other torenegotiate tradition, authority, and the hegemonic order (Bell1992: 140).Traditional religious ritual and the performance art of rakugo are notstrictly comparable, of course; but they are both examples of a singlephenomenon: the fertile interaction of the literary and the oral, in whichneither member of the pair suppresses the other.The studies Bell cites are all of relatively "traditional" societies,though some of them have at the same time become rich and "modern," asin Taiwan, which raises another question. Does the classical view of theoral and the literary derive from modes of thinking characteristic of modernminds in general, or of modern Western minds? Some recent literature hasdiscussed the culturally informed orientations underlying ideas of socialtransformation, which have been expressed in Western culture throughsuch terms as "progress," "evolution," and "revolution." Lakoff andJohnson, for example, have pointed out that the concept of "progress" hasbeen founded on a particular culture-specific metaphorical understanding135of the human experience, that associates change and the future with good.A few decades prior to this, Nisbet (1969: 7-9) made a similar analysis ofthe metaphor of "growth." This metaphor indicates that the Western mindtends to see social change as a purposeful development, which moves fromone point in time to another. Such ideas of progress and growth can shapethe way that people approach the world, predisposing them to see history asa linear succession of non-repeatable events, leading towards a uniquefuture state. In this scheme, the emergent event is by definition imperfect,since it will be succeeded by later events which will, by definition, have atleast the potential to surpass it in quality.These attitudes in turn draw our attention to another important area ofinvestigation, the politics of literary enterprise. The creations of humanbeings neither "evolve" nor "replace" each other by virtue of intrinsicforces, but are rather created, promoted, and discarded by people acting ondecisions made consciously, or far more often, at least partiallyunconsciously. Written words, whatever else they may be, are undoubtedlya commodity. If we turn our attention to why they sell better in somecultures than others, this in turn may reveal fundamental factors that wouldotherwise remain hidden.This study does not attempt an explanation, either abstract or culture-specific, for the appreciation of oral storytelling. Here, the nature ofJapanese society may provide food for thought. Rakugo is, after all, an artform that is best appreciated by audiences which already know the storiesthoroughly. One recalls Bloch's cynical explanation of song and dance asproducing an effect of joyful creativity by impoverishing reality —136reducing the number of possible choices from uncomfortably large to amanageable two or three. 1 Rakugo may well have a similar charm: thebasic structure is known, and being known, comforts the audience andreassures them, giving them the security and freedom to relax and noticethe individual refinements essayed by particular artists. This in turn relieson the relatively greater degree of cultural uniformity in Japan as comparedwith most Western countries: such refinements become possible andappreciated when a shared foundation of basic knowledge can be assumed.Another possible approach may lie in the concept of ichigo ichie,which was briefly introduced in Chapter Three. SanshOtei Charakuparticularly cherishes this concept, but on many occasions I too haveobserved that performance artists, traditional and contemporary, often referto ichigo ichie as the spiritual core or quintessential summation of theiresthetic philosophy. This being the opinion of those most directly involvedin such practices, it would be remiss if we were to close without a briefconsideration of the meaning and significance of ichigo ichie to rakugo.Ichigo ichie is a concept which has become canonized as the estheticfoundation of the tea ceremony. As Okakura Tenshin, a Meiji art critic,remarked, the tea ceremony is "an improvised drama" with tea, flowers,and painting as its props, a Zen-influenced art that lays particular emphasison the emergent and non-repeatable nature of each performance (Narukawa1 "...when nearly all this generative potential of language (or bodily movement) hasbeen forbidden, removed, the remaining choices left are so simple that they cansuddenly be apprehended consciously. Creativity has suddenly becomecontrollable, hence enjoyable" (Bloch 1974: 73).1371983: 86, 210-212; Ienaga 1987: 92-97). Ichigo ichie was first formulatedby the tea masters of the Warring States (1477-1573). According toNarukawa (1983: 89), it was advocated by Senno Rikyil, who had beentaught it by his master Takeno Jyoou; and its significance was fullyelaborated by Ii Naosuke, a tea master in the late Edo period. In his bookChanoyu Ichie Oa Ii explains that the meeting that takes place during a teaceremony is called ichigo ichie ("one occasion, one meeting") becauseeven though the same participants may meet any number of times, theactual experience of each meeting is entirely unrepeatable and unique.Thus, each meeting is and can never be anything other than the onlymeeting in one's entire life (Narukawa 1983: 89-90).It is at once apparent that the concept of ichigo ichie defined above isessentially a philosophy of hospitality, and hence is highly applicable toperformance arts — it requires the mutual participation of the audience andthe performers. However, it is more than this. It is also an assertion oftimelessness that fundamentally questions the Western idea of lineartemporal progress we spoke of above, while simultaneously subverting thesuperiority of the written, and thus fixed, over the spoken and fluidlychangeable. It would thus seem no accident that so many performanceartists in Japan, including Charaku, rate it so highly.Ichigo ichie questions linear progress in two ways. First, since eachmeeting is the only one, every meeting has to be the best. There is no roomfor lesser rankings when the groupings needed for comparisons have beendissolved. Second, since each meeting is thus the best, the concept of timeis deposed from its position of dominance and factored right out of the138equation. It can have nothing further to do with "progress," evenpotentially; since there is no further progress, it can be entirely disregarded.Thus, "the later, the better" yields to a timeless and non-pre-judgmentalattitude of "neither earlier nor later, all best and none worst." 2Now, if perfect appropriateness to the unique moment is the only bestthat there is, the very nature of writing disqualifies it from consideration.The written word is fixed, and thus an essentially inadequate medium forrepresenting and transmitting an infinitely and unendingly fluid reality."Fixing" inevitably entails "falsification," if not immediately, then in thenext instant, when the situation will have changed. Thus the emphasis inChinese Daoism and Japanese Zen on the assertion that the most profoundtruths are formally untransmittable by the written word, or for that mattereven by speech, as seen in the following Daoist parable:Duke Huan was reading a book at the top of the hall, wheel-wright Pien was chipping a wheel at the bottom of the hall. Heput aside his mallet and chisel and went up to ask Duke Huan,"May I ask what words my lord is reading?""The words of a sage.""Is the sage alive?"Narukawa (1983: 91) focuses on the Zen conception of time as the core of the spiritof ichigo ichie: the present is "the continuous flow of time that is constantly formedinto a future which does not yet exist, and which fades into a past that no longerexists." Only the "totally subjective (reflexive), existential understanding oftime...enables one to grasp the present, the manifestation of perpetual non-existence, as an eternal moment."139"He's dead.""In that case, what my lord is reading is the dregs of the men ofold, isn't it?""What business is it of a wheelwright to criticize what I read? Ifyou can explain yourself, well and good; if not, you die.""Speaking for myself, I see it in terms of my own work. If I chipat a wheel too slowly, the chisel slides and does not grip; if toofast, it jams and catches in the wood. Not too slow, not too fast; Ifeel it in the hand and respond from the heart, the mouth cannotput it into words, there is a knack in it somewhere which I cannotconvey to my son and which my son cannot learn from me. Thisis how through my seventy years I have grown old chipping atwheels. The men-of-old and their untransmittable message aredead. Then what my lord is reading is the dregs of the men ofold, isn't it?" (Graham 1981: 139-140)Wheelwright Pien puts the case a bit strongly to underline his philosophicalpoint: in fact, by words flexibly adapted to the situation, he has managed toconvey his message to the duke. Thus, if there is to be any chance at all forcommunication, it lies with personal presence and spoken word, rather thana dead and deadening text — though even with words, as we see above,something will still always escape.Therefore, the concept of ichigo ichie shares a general theoreticalground with one current trend in the study of narratives: the significance ofthe interactive, collaborative nature of the act of storytelling, as discussedby Duranti and Goodwin (1992). Ichigo ichie captures the essence of thephenomenology of an oral performance as something that must beexperienced and lived through if one is to fully appreciate its meanings andits transformative force. It is a justification for the structural and thematic140variability of oral narration: the structure of the story, and its general andpragmatic messages are instantiated as the performer and the audienceengage themselves in the spoken and unspoken dimensions of a livenarrative event.3The principle of ichigo ichie thus captures the fundamental mutabilityof oral performance arts. Each occasion of live oral narration has its ownlife, or is unique in its own way, for it enhances the instantaneous,interactive narrative construction by the narrator and the audience. Hencefrom the perspective of ichigo ichie, any text, be it written or electronicallyrecorded, is no more than the "dregs" of a live performance. To those whotruly appreciate rakugo, the orality of rakugo not only makes it estheticallysuperior to its literary counterpart, but also transforms it into anembodiment of cultural values that consider face-to-face human encountersthe ultimate form of knowledge production and transmission, and ofunderstanding and sharing the meaning of life.Another modern theoretical departure which shows a distinct similarity with ichigoichie is the concept of liminality or the liminal state developed by V. Turner andelaborated by C. Turnbull. In particular, both are experientialist attempts to capturethe synthesis of objective and subjective experience, the "total participation, totalsacrifice of the academic as well as the individual self" so that "subjectivity andemotional involvement are no longer incompatible with objectivity and reason"(Turnbull 1990: 76)141Appendix One"Sannen-me":Transcription and TranslationSanshotei Charaku, chief performer (tori)Yoshiike Doyou YoseYoshiike Hall, Okachimachi, TokyoAugust 29 1992,4:10 to 4: 30 p.m.The last programme of the matinee[Mukaede — the audience's clapping to welcome the performer.A Oren (yose regular) calls out "matte -mashita" ("here youare!") The performer sits on the futon-mat at the center of thestage, and bows quite politely.]o -hakobi arigato gozai-masu.(1) Thank you very much for coming.atakushi ga agari-mashita-ra matte-mashita nan-te-iu koe o itadaki-mashite(2) Someone just greeted me with a "Here you are!"kono-aida mo yahari o-kyaku-san de atakushi ga agari-masita-ramatte-mashita taihen yorokonda-n-desu keredomo(3) The other day, I also had someone from the audience call out,"Finally, here you are!", which made me very proud of myself.o-kyaku-san de hanashi o hajimeta-ra suutto o-tachi-ni-natteitumade-mo kaette-konai yatto atakushi no hanashi ga owatta-ra142modotte -rasshai-mashita -n-de -ne(4) But the moment I began telling the story, this fellow quietly rose andleft the room, and did not return until I eventually finished my story.o -kyaku-san nan -desu matte -mashita-tte itte doko itteta -n -desu(5) Hey, you welcomed me with "here you are" so why did you thenleave?iya toire itteta-n-da-yo sakki-kara omoshiroi-kara nakanakatatenakatta-n-da-kedo-nee o-mae-san tumannai-kara mattemashita-to sugu-icchatta-tte(6) (He said,) "Well, the whole programme has been just so fantastic thatI couldn't even stand up and go to the toilet for a moment. But whenyour turn came I knew I wouldn't miss anything, so that's why Igreeted you with 'Finally, here you are!'"(7) hidoi-me-ni aimashita keredomoNasty son -of-a-bitch, wasn't he!e maa hiru no bu wa ato is-seki de gozaimasu ma yoru no bu momochiron goran-itadakimashite kekko-de gozaimasu-no-de o-tsukiaino hodo o o-negai-moshi-agemasu keredomo(8) Anyway, there's only one more performance left for today's matinee.Of course there'll be the evening programme as well, and you aremost welcome to stay and enjoy it, so please do so.143is-sun no mushi ni mo go-bu no tamashii nan-te-koto o moshi-masu-ga-na maa is-sun ni mo mitanai-youna chiisana mushi demo amarikou jaken-ni atsukau to ato-de ada-suru nan-te-koto ga aru-n-da-sou-de na(9) There's a Japanese proverb which goes, "Even a one-inch insect hashalf an inch of spirit." It means that if you are cruel to the tiniest ofcreatures, even it will get its revenge on you."e kore wa atashi ga zenza no koro ni shishou no karaku karakikimashita hanashi desu keredomo na(10) When I was still a young apprentice I heard from my master, the lateSanshoutei Karaku, about one unfortunate entertainer.ano kou mukashi ware-ware dosa-mawari no geinin ga maa inaka-mawari chihou-mawari no geinin ne ee orimashite kore ga shigotoga owatta ato yado de kutsuroide(11) In those days professional entertainers often went on the road,travelling around the local provinces, and after the day's work theyused to rest at an inn.yado to iimashite mo na ee kichin-yado ni chito keno haeta younamono nano-desu keredomo(12) I say an "inn" though they were really no better than pigpens.144ee shokuji ga owatte kutsuroide-iruto eri-moto ga nanka koumuzumuzu suru-n-de choito kou totte-miru to shirami to iu yatsude(13) And, after supper, this performer made himself comfortable. He thenfelt something moving on his neck. He picked it up and looked at it— and it was a louse.ima no o-wakaikata shirami nan-te-no mou go-zonji-nai-deshoukeredomo demo mattaku nakunatta to iun-de wa nai-n-da-soude(14) I'm afraid that the young people nowadays wouldn't know aboutlice, but these creatures are not yet extinct.e kono-aida nanika shinbun de mimashita keredomo nanika o-ishasan ga mite wakaranai henna hifu-byou datte sawaide-itara nan-no koto wa nai kore wa shirami datte koto ga madamada aru-n-dasoude(15) Ah, a while ago I saw in a newspaper, that there was some kind ofskin disease a physician couldn't figure out, and he made such a fussabout this "unusual" disease, and it turned out to be lice-infestation.desu-kara mada mattaku kako no doubutsu de-wa nai to omou-n-desu-keredomo(16) Some have similar stories, so I don't think lice belong in themuseums quite yet.145de kono eri-moto no o mita-ra shirami ga marumaru to futotteimashite ne(17) Anyhow, when this fellow looked at the louse he got from his neck,it was quite plump.kono yarou ore no chi o sutte konna-ni natte yagaru hara ga tatsunaa tsubushite yarou ka to omotta keredomo(18) "What a scoundrel! Look at how damn fat you got sucking myblood! Well, I'm gonna crush you," he thought.tsubusu no wa nao kuyashii kara kore o ne motto ijimete-yarou nan-te chito kou mimasu to hashira ga atte koko no kou uro to moushi-masu ka chiisana ana ga atte ne(19) Then again, it's no fun just to kill it, he thought: "I'll torture it!" Helooked around, and saw a pillar with a little hole in it.koitsu e kou shirami o oshi-kon-de e waki ni aru kami de choito koumarumete ana o fusaide sorede sutto akuru-hi tacchimau(20) Into this hole he pressed the louse, plugged the hole with a piece ofpaper, and quietly left the inn the next morning.de jyuk-ka-getsu tachi-mashite mata kou zuut-to hito kougyoumawatte-kite onaji yado ni tomatte yahari shokuji no ato nikutsuroide-ite146(21) Well, ten months passed before he came back to the same inn after aprovincial tour. As before, he was relaxing after supper.a souda sou iya kono-aida kita-toki tashika kono hashira no uro nonaka ni shirami o oshikon-doita kedo arya dou-natteru-n-darou(22) He had almost forgotten about the louse, when the memory suddenlycame back to him. "Oh, yes, I remember, the last time I was here, Isquashed a louse into the little hole in this pillar. I wonder how it is?"nan-te ee de eri-moto ni are o kou tsuma-youji o mukashi no geininnanka wa sashite orimashita-n-de ne(23) So he took a toothpick from his neckband — in those days theentertainers used to carry toothpicks inside their kimono-neckbands."soitsu o kou dashite kou kami o hojikuri-dashite naka o chito kou mi-masu to(24) With it he removed the crumpled piece of paper blocking the hole,and took a look inside.sukkari kou ne hikarabi-chatta kou shirami ga dete mairi-masu nani-shiro kou hoho wa koke-chatte me wa ochi-kon-de-te ne taihen mouhikarabi-chatte zamamiro-tte koto ni nari-yagatte(25) The louse was there but it was all dried up. As you might guess, itscheeks were fallen, its eyes were sunken deep into its head. "Well,"he thought, "look at you! It serves you right, doesn't it?"147shibaraku kou zuutto mite-iru to nanika ki-no-sei-da-ka ugoita-younaki ga itashi-mashite ne,(26) He watched it for a while. Well, to his surprise, it began to move.ara sonna-koto ga aru-no-ka to mite-iru to to no nukumori ga koutsutawatta-seide dandan kou ugoki-dashite taishita mon-da nee kouikite-irun-da-you(27) He couldn't believe what he saw, but as the louse felt the warmth ofhis hand, it slowly but steadily regained its life. "Amazing! It's stillalive!"te-iru-uchini kou chikut-to kimashite ne(28) His fascination, however, ended abruptly when the louse took a biteat him.o o o kami-tsuki-yagatta ne shibaraku-buri de hara ga hetteru-n-da-rou sukoshi-gurai hodokoshite-yarou(29) "Argh! Back to the survival game! Ah, but I understand your hungertoo. Well, all right, I can practice a little charity for you."nan-te nonki-na yatsu ga atta-n-de(30) What a bloody fool he was!148ee nani-ka katte-ni suwashite-iruto dandandandan kono shirami ganiku e kui-kon-de mairi-mashite ne(31) He let the louse suck on his blood, and as it suck, it gradually boredits way into his flesh.o ikenee to omotte awatete kou tori-dasou to omotta-ra fukakuhaicchi-matte mou toridasu koto ga deki-nai(32) "Ouch!" So, when he lent it a hand, it took his arm as well. He triedto get rid of it, but it was too late.sono-uchi kore ga guut-to karada o mawatte toutou inochi o otoshitehotoke ni natta(33) This louse entered deep into him, going around in his body untilfinally he died a sudden death.shirami ga hotoke nan -te iu hanashi ga gozai -masu ga(34) There is a saying, "Ignorance is bliss," but in this case we might termit, "Ignorance is blice."amari hanashi-ka no hanashi wa anmari mani-ukenai-de itadaki-tain-desu keredomo(35) Ech, what a lousy pun! Well, so much for that; please don't takestory-tellers too seriously.149maa nan-ni-shite-mo ki ga nokoru nan-te koto wa ne kore wa mushidake ja nakute mochiron ningen ni-mo aru-soudesu keredomo(36) Anyway, it is often said that the spirit outlives the body, be that thatof an insect or a human.dou shitai e kyou wa guai ga iikai(37) "How are you feeling today, feeling any better?"iyaiyaiyaiya nanika ne ki no sei da ga kao-iro ga chito ii-youdakedo ano souda o-kusuri ga ano un sensei mo osshattteta yo kawattakara ikura-ka nomi-yasui-tte(38) "Well, your complexion is better today, I think. Oh yes, that remindsme, the medication. The doctor said it's a new prescription, easier totake."sou itta kara ima no uchi ni atatamete ageru kara nomi -nasai yo(39) "I'll take his word for it. I'll warm it up for you now."e ato-de ii-tte omae hanashi ni kiku-to ne watashi ga inai to kusuri osute-chimau sou-janai ka(40) "What? You don't want it? And I heard that when I'm not here, youthrow away your medication."150byou-nin ga kusuri o noma-nai-you-ja ikemasen yo isshoukenmeikusuri o nonde ne hayaku naotte kure-na-kya watashi wa omae niwazurawareta-ra ichiban kokoro-bosoi-n-da yo do doushita-n-daoki-agatte daijoubu kai(41) "A sick person has to take her medication. You must try to get better,because I feel so sad when you are sick. Oh, what are you doing?Trying to get up? Are you all right?"mou okusuri wa kekkou de gozai-masu(42) "Thank you for the medication but I do not need it."kusuri wa kekkou de gozai-masu-ttatte ne byou-nin ga kusuri wanoma-naku-cha ikemasen yo(43) "You don't know what you are saying! You are sick and you musttake your medication."as omae ne sou yake o okoshi -cha ikenai un(44) "You shouldn't give up that easily."anata kakushite irasshai -masu(45) "I know you are keeping something secret from me."151watashi ga omae ni kakushi-goto nanzaa nai-yo e sou-da-yo nan-nokoto-datte minna omae ni hanashite-iruja-nai-ka nani-goto to iwazuni sugu omae ni soudan-shite-imasu(46) "What secret? Me? From you? No way, I swear, never! I tell youeverything, I always consult with you before I talk to anyone else,you know that."ya arekore kou-iu-koto ga atte atashi wa kou omou ga omae wa ittaidou omou nande-mo soudan-shite-iru kakushi-goto nan-za nai-yofuufu no aida-gara-de(47) "I always tell you about what happens to me, and how I feel about it,and ask for your opinions. You must trust me! There are no secretsbetween us, we're a husband and wife."o-isha-sama ga o-kaeri-ni naru-toki ni anata o yonde hisohisobanashi tachi-giki nado shite wa ikenai to omoi-mashita ga yousu oukagatte-itara ano byounin wa mou nagai-koto wa nai ima no aidani miseru o-isha-san ga atta-ra miseta-ra yokarou kusuri dake wanenno-tame ni oite-iku-to(48) "When the doctor was leaving, he called you and whispered something into your ear. I hesitated to be an eavesdropper but couldn'thelp it. I overheard him saying, 'That patient is hopeless. If youknow other good doctors, let them see her as soon as possible. I'llleave you some medication just in case.'"152sou osshai-mashita mou ano o-isha-san-de roku-nin-me desu yo go-nin mo roku-nin mo-no sensei ga saji o nageta-n-desu-kara mouatakushi wa akiramete orimasu tada hitotsu-dake ki-gakarina kotoga gozaimashite shinde-mo shini-kire-masen(49) "That's what he said. You know, that doctor was the sixth one. Five,six of the best doctors have given up on me, I shouldn't have anyfalse hopes. But, but there's one thing I'm really worried about and Icannot rest in peace until I'm reassured about it."nani itte-n-da yo e so sorya ne omae ni kakushita wake ja nai-n-dayo o-isha-sama mo narubeku nara byounin no mimi ni ire-nai hou gaii to iu-kara iwa-nakatta dake-de(50) "What are you talking about! I, I never intended to keep it secretfrom you, it's just that the doctor suggested not to mention it to younow."ii-ja-nai ka ma ano sensei wa sou osshatta kedo ne yo-no-naka ni wamei-i to iwareru-kata ato takusan irassharu-n-da yo atashi wahappou to o tukushite ne sou-iu kata o sagashite omae-san o mite-moratte kitto naoshite miseru yo(51) "Anyway, why should we worry just because that doctor said that?There are many, many great doctors in the world, and I'll do everything I can to find the very best of them, to bring them to you, tohave them heal you. This I promise you."153ee shinpai shicha ike-masen henna ki o okoshi-chaa sore nitsuketemo nanika ima henna koto o itta ne ki-gakari de shini-kire-nai(52) "Worrying doesn't help, you know, don't give up. What are youworried about? What did you mean by 'cannot rest in peace until youare reassured?'o-mae-san nanika ano henna koto o kangaete e kininatte iru-n-ja-nai-kai sore ga ichiban yamai-ni-wa ikenai-n-da yo(53) "You are not thinking anything silly, are you?. That would do theworst harm to your health."un ano ne nani-ka shinpai-goto ga aru-nara watashi ni soudanshinasai yo ii-ja-naika ano omaesan ga iu-koto-nara nan-demowatashi wa yaru yo(54) "O.K., tell me what's bothering you. I'll do anything for you."dekiru koto-nara deki-nai koto wa ikenai yo me-de senbei o kametoka sou-iu koto wa ikemasen-kedo ne dekiru koto-nara nan-de-modekiru(55) "Anything I will do, I swear, but only the things I can do, like, don'task me to make Kanemaru tell the truth."e ii-ja-nai no fuufu no aida-gara da yo dare-mo kii-cha inai-n-da-kara itte-goran e nan-dai ki-gakari-datte-no154(56) "Well, no secret can survive us, so tell me what's on your mind.There's no one around, just the two of us here."sore-jaa moushi-masu atakushi ga kochira ni mairi-mashite mou ni-nen tatsu ya tatazu atakushi no youna mono-demo taihen nikaaigatte-itadaite arigatai-to omotte-ori-masu(57) "All right, then. It has been almost two years since I came to thishousehold. I thank you very much for caring for me, though I'm notsure if I really deserved it."mashite toko e tsuite-kara wa kata-toki mo makura-moto o hanarezuni kanbyou-shite kudasai-mashite mottainai-kurai ni omotte-ori-masu atakushi ga shinda ato-de wakai o-yome-san o moratte anataga onaji-you-ni kaai-garu-ka-to omou-to atakushi wa ki-gakari-deki-gakari-de shinde-mo shini-kire-masen(58) "After I became ill, you always stayed by my bedside and lookedafter me, and I've often thought you were too good for me. I'll bejealous of you if, after I'm gone, you take yourself another youngwife and love her just the same way. I cannot stand the thought of it,and I know I cannot die in peace unless you promise me never tomarry again."bakana koto iccha-ike-masen nanda ne e nani-ka-to omotta-rasonna-koto sou-iu-koto o kangaeru-kara ne nakanaka byouki monaora-nai-n-da you155(59) "What a foolish thought! My goodness, is that what you're worriedabout? No wonder you don't get better!"ee sono ne omae-san ga iya chigau man-ga-ichi no hanashi man-ga-ichi no koto ga omae-san ni atta-to shitatte-da yo atashi wa sonnanochizoe nanzo morai-masen yo shougai hitori de iru-karadaijyoubu da yo(60) "You know, I tell you, if by one chance in a million it happens, well,it's only hypothetical, OK? If, and only if, such a thing happens toyou, then I will never, ever get married again, I will remain un-attached for the rest of my life. There now, don't trouble yourselfwith such silly thoughts."sou osshai-masu ga anata wa amari yoru wa nakanaka o-hitori-dewa sugose-nai o-kata-desu-kara(61) "You are only saying that. I know very well how difficult it is foryou to spend a night alone."of henna-koto iccha-ikemasen yo ne ya daijyoubu-da yo omae gashinda-ra mesu-neko i-ppiki hiza-no-ue ni nose-ya shi-nai-kara(62) "Hey, why do you say that! Uh, anyway, don't worry! If you die, Iswear I'll never put on my lap even a tiny pussycat."anata ga sou osshatte-mo go-ryoushin no katagata ga yamanakashouchi o itashi-masen156(63) "Even if you say so, your parents will not agree with you."shouchi o suru-mo shinai-mo atashi ga kotoware-ba sore-de sumu-n-ja-nai-ka(64) "Agree or disagree, I'll simply refuse any proposal to remarry."ee ee ya ma ikura iwaretatte atasha wake ga atte nochizoe o omaekotowarya ii-darou kotowarya kotowarya sumu-n-ja-nai-ka(65) "You see, uh, no matter how much they insist, I'll tell them that forcertain reasons I cannot remarry. That will do."nakanaka kotowari-kire(66) "I doubt you will be able to refuse all the proposals."ee iya kotowari-kire-nakya sono-toki wa sono-toki-de shiyou ga naiyo nochizoe o morai-masu(67) "Well, if I can no longer refuse, then, what can I do? All right, I shalltake another wife."iyaiyaiya morai-masu ga hanashi wa ma ato-made kiki-nasai yo nesa tashika ni nochizoe wa morau keredomo ii-kai sou-da kou-shimasho(68) "But that's not the end of the story. Now listen. I'll take anotherwife, indeed, but I've got an excellent plan."157omae-san ga ne atashi-no-koto o sonna-ni omotte-kureru-nara-ba nesono-nochizoe o moratta konrei no ban ni ne yuurei ni natte deteoide yo(69) "I ask you this:If you feel so deeply towards me, why don't youcome back on the wedding night, as a ghost."un omae-san ga yuurei ni natte dete-kurya ne atashi kowai-to waosoroshii-to wa omoi wa shinai ureshii yo un atashi wa ureshii-toomou keredo(70) "Oh yes! If you come back as a ghost, I'll never be scared orfrightened, I'll be delighted to meet your ghost."sorya kita yome ni shite-goran me o mawashi-chau yo me o mawasa-nai-made-mo akuru-hi-n-nattara awatete sato-gata e nige-kaeru yo(71) "But as for the new bride, she'll be scared as hell! Even if shedoesn't faint, she'll run back to her home the next day for sure!"un asoko no ie de wa sensai no yuurei ga deru sonna hanashi gahoubou ni shire-watatte goran dare mo sewa-suru-n-nanza inaishiyome ni kuru aite datte iya-shinai sore-ja atashi wa iya-ga ou demois-shou hitori-mi-de iru-ja-nai ka(72) "Do you see what happens then? If a rumor goes around that thedead wife's ghost is wandering about in my house, no one will dare158try arranging a marriage with me, nor will there be anyone wantingto come to me. This way, you see, I must remain unattached."sore-hodo ki -ni-naru-n -nara yuurei ni nari -nasai konrei no ban ni(73) "So, come back to me as a ghost on my wedding night."dewa anata atakushi ga yuurei ni(74) "Really? Could I come back as a ghost?"ee matteru-kara(75) "Yes! I'll be waiting for you."dewa yatsu no kane o aizu ni yuurei ni demasu yo kitto -desu yo anata(76) "Well then, I'll come back when the temple bell rings the midnightto 2 o'clock bell. You mustn't forget it."henna yakusoku o shita-mon-de ne yuurei ni deru yakusoku o shitakore o maa kiite iru-to o-kami-san no hou mo anshin-shita sei-desu-ka nanika kou haritsumete-ita-mono ga ippon kireta youni youdai gakyuuhen o itashi-masu(77) What a strange promise they made! To meet a ghost-wife! How-ever, the wife seemed to be relieved that this promise was made, andher condition worsened as if she no longer had even the slightestwish to live.159awateta katagata ga o-isha-san o yonda-ri happoo to o tsukushi-mashita ga nai jumyou to miete o-nakunari ni nari-mashita(78) In a great rush, the people around her called the doctor and triedtheir best, but she gasped her life away, the life that was destined tobe so short.nakunatte nobe no okuri sho-nanoka ga sugite san-juu-go nichi shi-juu-ku nichi mo sugiru hya-kka-nichi ga sugiru-atari(79) They buried her remains in the fields. The seventh memorial dayafter her death passed; the thirty-fifth, and forty-ninth memorial daysboth passed; and it was about one hundred days since her death.shinseki no katagata-kara ne doumo itsumade-mo nee wakai-mono onukimi no mama-de oichaa nee korya ikemasen yo hayai-toko ne anoosamaru-saya ga atta-ra osameta-ra dou-desu mina-san(80) The man's relatives began talking about arranging a marriage forhim: a young fellow like that shouldn't be left as a "bare sword," weshould find him a suitable sheath right away, right?to koukou ma saisho no uchi wa ie atakushi wa wake ga ari-mashitenochizoe wa motanai-koto ni shite-ori-masu to kotowatte ori-mashi-ta ga sousou wa kotowari kire-nai to iu-yatsu de ne160(81) So they approached him. He refused them at first, saying, "Forcertain reasons, I have decided not to remarry." But he couldn't, ofcourse, keep himself apart forever.jaa shiyou ga nai ja sore -nara motou to iu -koto ni naru(82) "Well, if you people insist so strongly, then I'll take a new wife."ma chou-nai de-mo hyouban no koudanshi-de gozaimasu-kara-nakase taishuu ni ikeda nan-toka o kake-awase-tari nan-ka shitesanshoutei charaku o parapara-tto maita-youna ii-otoko de gozai-masu-kara-na(83) You see, he was one of the best-looking men in the town, like a mixof Kase Taishu and Ikeda what's-his-name, topped off with a touchof SanshOtei Charaku.sorya naka-ni wa chou-nai no sosokkashii onna-no-ko ga asoko-jyahontou ni o-kami-san ga shinde ii-koto o shita aso asoko-no ie niatashi ga hitokurou-shite-mitai nan-te sosokkashii no ga itari nan-kasuru(84) And there happened to be a young girl, a bit scatterbrained, in theneighbourhood, who was seeking an opportunity to many him. "Oh,it was good that she died! How I wish to be his companion!"isogi no hanashi ga atte kore-mata (words not clear) to iu-no gahanashi ga matomatte konrei to iu koto ni161(85) There was a quick match-making arrangement, and they agreed to bepartners. Soon the wedding took place.sansan kudo no sakazuki mo sunde nemaki ni kigaete danna no houwa mou futon no hou e suwatta-n desu-ga-na nak naka ne-tsuke-masen-de(86) They performed the ceremony of san-san-kudo, the three-times-threeexchange of nuptial cups, and retreated to the bedroom. They slippedinto their nightcloths, but the husband could not go to sleep, sittingon his bed.kon-ya yatsu no kane o aizu ni sensai no yuurei ga detekuru toomoeba ne koryaa nerare-nai(87) He was thinking of his late wife's ghost, that was to appear at thering of the midnight to 2 o'clock bell.ii-kara saki-ni oyasumi-nasai(88) "Don't worry about me, you go to sleep."anata oyasumi-ni-natta-ra(89) "Why don't you?"ieieieie ii-n-da yo mada choito nerare-nai-n-da yo ima nan-ji dai(90) "Well, it's just that, uh, I've got things to do. What time is it now?"162yotsu de gosai-masu(91) "It's ten, my dear."yotsu ka madamadada(92) "Ten? Well, a long way to go."ano nani ga madamada nan-te-koto(93) "A 'long way to go' to what?"iyaiya iya kocchi-no koto-dakara sa e nenasai yo un asshi wa madanemuku-nai-n-da(94) "Never mind, it doesn't concern you. Go to sleep. What, me? I'm notsleepy yet."atakushi-mo mada nemuku wa gozai-masen(95) "I'm not sleepy either."mane o shicha ikenai yo dakara-ne ima nan-doki dai(96) "Don't repeat after me like that. Uh, what time is it anyway?"ima yotsu-han de gozai-masu(97) "It's about eleven now."163yotsu-han ka ee yotsu-han ne oyasumi-nasai oyasumi hayaku nenai-to kowai yo(98) "Ah, eleven now. Please go to sleep, otherwise, something scarymight happen."nani-ka kowai(99) "Something scary?"ieieie kocchi no koto dakara sa dakara hontou-ni ii-kara hayaku neteima nan-doki-dai(100) "No no no, it didn't mean anything. Anyway, go to sleep, don'tworry about me. Ah, what time is it now?"toki-bakkari kiiteru(101) "Why are you worried about time?"e ja atashi mo yoko ni narimashou itsumademo ne o-kami-san ookoshi-toku wake-ni wa ikanai un atashi mo yoko ni naru-karatokorode ima nan-ji(102) "Well, I shall lie down; I shouldn't keep my wife awake for noreason. I'll go to sleep. But what time is it?"sakki kokonotsu o uchi -mashita(103) "The bell rang twelve times a while ago."164oo kokonotsu ne sorosoro oide -nasaru-kana(104) "Oh, yeah, twelve times? Won't be too long till she comes."donataka oide-ni(105) "Are you expecting someone?"ii-ya sou-ja nai-n -da yo tada tsumaranai yakusoku o ne(106) "No, it's not that. I've got a small promise to keep."nani-ka o -yakusoku(107) "What promise?"ii-kara oyasumi -nasai oyasumi -nasai(108) "Never mind, sleep, sleep now."shibaraku jit-to shite-iru sono-uchi yomesan-no hou no neiki gakikoete-kite na(109) He remained calm for a while. Meanwhile his wife finally fell asleep.sa sorosoro yatsu ni naru g000n okashii ne tashika ima ga yatsu nokane nanoni ne toki o machigaeta no kana are wa sosokkashikattakara ne165(110) "Here goes the eighth-hour bell. [Gong!] Where is she? That wassurely the 2 o'clock bell. Well, she was always a bit confused. Shemight have mistaken the time."masaka tonari no ie e deta wake ja nai-darou ne tonari no ie e deta-ra odoroku-darou nee(111) "Uh, do you suppose that she's gone to our next-door neighbour? Ifthat's the case, the neighbours will be scared to hell."dakedo doushita-n-da(112) "I wonder what happened to her?"denai denai to kou matteiru-uchi ni itsu-no-ma-ni-ka omote ga kouakaruku-nacchimatte karasu ga naite yoru ga akechimau(113) He waited for her eagerly: "She'll come any time now, any timenow." But the day was dawning, the crows cawed to break themorning calm."konrei no ban ni detekuru-ttatte deteko-nee na mottomo sou kajuuman-okudo-tte toui-n-da-kara shonichi ni wa ma-ni awa-nakatta-n-darou-na-tte-n-de ne futsuka-me mo dete-konai(114) "She promised to show up on the wedding night, but she didn't.Well, it may be that, she's coming back from a place far away fromEarth, and couldn't make it for the first day," he thought. But shedidn't show up on the second night either.166as naa futsuka mo tsuzukete suppokashi-kai ee kon-ya atari wa dete-kuru-n-darou-to mikka-me wa kaeri-jonichi dakara nedetekurudarou dete-kuru-darou to omotta-ra mikka-me mo dete-konai itsuka tachi touka tachi to(115) "My goodness, she stood me up two days in a row! Wait a minute,they say, the third night is the 'returning first night' so she'll cometonight." He waited but she did not come, and five days, ten dayspassed by."nan-da naa dete-kiya-shinai-n-ja-nai-ka urameshii-to-ka nan-ka eeiroiro iu-kedo arya ikiteru-aida no koto na-n-da yo ee shin-jyae-badoutte koto wa nai to nan-da bakabakashii-to(116) "What should I make of this? It may be that we humans have worriedfeelings only when we are alive; once dead, our feelings are all gone,it's all merely an illusion. What a waste of time!"moto-yori kashikoi kata desu-kara satori-mashite ne ma sou nari-masu-to motomoto iya-de moratta-wake-ja gozai-masen nochizoe nohoudatte ne ee dandan dandan naka ga mutsumajiku-natte-kuruhodo-naku oigo no hou ga go-kainin to(117) He was a clever man, quick to realize his foolishness. As for thesecond wife, he did not dislike her to begin with, so they naturallybecame intimate, and soon the wife became pregnant.167shite ne totsuki o sugite kou tama no youna otoko-no-ko taiteihanashi-ka ga iu-to tama-no-youna otoko-no-ko hanashi-ka notokoro-niwa yoku tadon no youna otoko-no-ko ga umarete-kuru-kotoga aru-n-desu keredo ne(118) And after ten months or so, a diamond-like, beautiful boy was born."A diamond-like boy" is a storytellers' favourite cliché, but astoryteller's son often looks more like a lump of coal.ee sono toshi ga sugite tsugi no toshi mo sugiru sannenme(119) Well that year went by and so did the next. Finally, sannenme, or thethird year arrived.sensai no houji o shiyou-to iuyatsu-de moto-yori shini-ato ni kita-n-desu-kara nochizoe no houmo izon wa gozai-masen kinjo ni kubari-mono nanzo-shite ee haka-mairi nazo o shite kaeri-ni asakusa nokannon-sama-de kodomo o asobase-te kaeru to iu(120) They held a Buddhist memorial service for the late wife, as thesecond wife had no objection. They provided gifts to theirneighbours, paid a visit to her grave, and took their child to thetemple of the Goddess of Mercy in Asakusa to play.ee tsukareta to miete mou gussuri to nechima-tte(121) They came home, exhausted; and husband, wife, and child all fellfast asleep in bed.168yonaka ni danna no hou ga hyoi-to me o samashite ne e e dou-dakono haizuri komochi no nemuta-gari to iu ga mattaku-da ne onnamo ne kodomo ga dekiru to kou mo kawaru mono ka ee aa kodomono hou ga shikkari shiteru yo ee jibun de moguri-kon-de chibusa niburasagatteru yo(122) At midnight the husband suddenly woke up. "Oh look at that! Theway the child crawls! They say, 'a woman with her baby alwayssleeps' and it's very well put. I can't believe how she changed afterthe baby was born. My goodness, the baby has more energy than hismother; he sneaks into his mother's breast by himself!"aa demo kyou wa ii-koto o shita nee haka-mairi o shita ato-tte no waii kokoro-mochi no mon-da ne joroukai no asa-gaeri to wa eraichigai- desu yo ne(123) "Well, I did a good thing today. I felt so good after paying a visit toher grave; it's even better than coming home after a night in the red-light district."(not clear) wa ne haka no mae-de kangaeta-n-da ga ano onna ni wakikaserare-nai ga are ga ima-made joubu de konna kodomo-demoitara-ba sazokashi yorokobu darou naa(124) "I cannot say it to this woman, but if my first wife were alive andwell, and if she had a baby like him, I could have made her sohappy."169ano-koro wa mono-ni narenai-kara iroiro fujiyuu-na omoi o sasetehaya-jini sasechatte shinu-mono binbou to wa mattaku-da kawaisou-na koto o shita-mono-da to omoidasu no mo ii kimochi ga itashi-masen-de ne(125) "As I recall it now, she went through many hardships, having somany unfamiliar things in this household. It's true when they say,`one who dies early knows hardships.'" He felt bad as he thought ofhis late wife.sono-uchi engawa no to o akeppanashi ni shite neta-to miete nama-atatakai-youna kaze ga suu-tto fuki-konde-kuru-you shouji ni kami-no-ke ga kasureru youna oto ga sarasara sarasara to itashi-mashite(126) In the meantime, without a sound a warm but eerie breeze swept inthrough the porch — they had apparently left the porch door open.Something rustled, as if a woman's long hair was brushing against asliding door.hiyamizu-de mo kou erimoto-kara kakerareta you-ni z000tto shitearya nan-da ee kon-ya wa henna ban da-naa(127) He felt a chill creep over his neck, and shuddered. "What was that?It's a very weird night tonight."kiseru no gan-kubi de makura-byoubu no heri kou hikkakete hyu-ttotaguri-yosete hyo-tto mae o mite odoroita170(128) He caught the edge of the bedside screen with the head of his pipe,pulled it closer, and looked straight forward.midori no kuro-kami o odoro-ni midashita sensai no yuurei gamakura-moto ni pitari to suwatte urameshi-yaa(129) To his astonishment, the ghost of his first wife sat right beside hispillow, with her long, shiny black hair all rumpled up.uwaa nan-de ima jibun dete-kuru-n-da yo hiruma no houji no reiginanza dou de-mo ii-n-desu-yo yuurei no (not clear) dai nan-te(130) "Waah! Wh, why did you come back now? You, you didn't have tothank me for the memorial service I did today. No sweat!"ukande okure nanmaida nanmaida(131) "May your soul rest in peace! Save Me Merciful Buddha!Nammaida, nammaida."anata wa urameshii okata desu are-hodo yakusoku shita-no-niatakushi ga shinde hyakka-nichi mo tatanai noni sonna kireina o-yome-san o moratte aka-chan made o-tsukuri-ni-natte sore de wa o-yaku-soku ga chigai-masu(132) "To hell with you for betraying me! Within one hundred days of mydeath, you quickly remarried a pretty woman, and even had a child.You've forgotten our promise!"171of joudan ja-nai yo kou natta-ra atashi yuurei ni kake-ai masu yo enani o itten-dai omae wa ne ikiteru aida wa tashika-ni mono-wakari-no-ii onna datta ga ne shinde-miru-to sonna-ni mono ga wakara-naku naru no kai(133) "Hey, don't get me wrong! Dead or alive, I'll argue with you. Whenyou were still alive, you were a reasonable person, but once dead,why did you become so bullheaded?"omae ga yakusoku-chigai omae datte yakusoku ga chigau-n-ja-nai-ka ee konrei no ban ni detekuru-tte-tta-kara atasha matte-mashita yodete-konai-ja nai-ka(134) "You cheated on me too, don't you remember? I longed for you,waited for you as we promised on that wedding night. But you nevershowed up!"a mottomo jyuuman-okudo-ttene tooi tokoro kara kuru-to omou-karane uun futsuka-me ni wa deru mikka-me ni wa deru atasha nemainichi koumori ja-nai keredomo hiruma ne nete yoru okite omae omatte-to-n-da yo ee(135) "Well, I realized that you were coming from so far away, people sayten million miles away, so I waited for two days, three days, hopingfor your return, sleeping when the sun is up, waking when the moonis above, just like the bats."172dete-kya-shinai-ja-nai ka ano ne sore o ima jibun-dete sonna kotoiwareta-tte ki-no-kiita bakemono-nara tokku-ni hikkomu jibun-da yoee(136) "You, you never showed up, until now, when it's too late! Youreproach me, but if you were a wise ghost, you wouldn't have comein the first place!'"omaedatte ne yuurei ni dete-kuru (not clear) watashi ga nochizoe omoratta-kurai no koto wa wakatteta-n-darou(137) "Didn't you hear the news in the other world that I took a secondwife?"soryaa watakushi mo ki ga nokotte orimashita-kara donata no osewaitsu o-yome-san o moratte o-ko-san ga ikutsu-ni natta kurai-no kotowa zonjite ori-masu(138) "Of course, I knew who arranged your second marriage, who youmarried, when your son was born and so on. And I worried so muchabout you."shitteru-nara naze motto hayaku-ni dete-konain-da yo(139) "Why didn't you show up sooner then?"anata go-muri ja arimasen ka(140) "You know I couldn't, even if I had wanted to."173nani ga ittai muri nan -da yo(141) "No I don't. Why couldn't you?"atashi ga shinda toki mina-san de atashi no atama o marumetebousan ni nasaimashita(142) "When I died they shaved my head like a nun."sorya ne omae shinseki ichi-dou ga ne hito kamisori zutsu omae-sanno atama e atete ama-san ni shite kan e osameta yo(143) "Yes, of course, all the relatives performed the funeral ritual ofshaving your head, each one of them taking a turn holding the razor.When we finally made a nun out of you, we placed you in thecoffin."desu-kara bousan no mama-de dete-kite wa anata ni aiso-zukare osaremasu-node kami ga nobiru made matte-orimashita.(144) "That's why I couldn't come back. I waited until my hair grew back,because if I showed up as a nun, I knew you wouldn't like me anymore."174Appendix TwoSources for the Textual History of Rakugo StoriesChazuke YfireiEkuni Shigeru, Onishi Nobuyuki, Nagai Michio, Yano Sei'ichi, Mita Jun'ichi(eds.) 1974. Chazuke Yfirei. Koten Rakugo Taikei vol. 8. Tokyo:San'ichi shobki. pp.164-177.Hanami-OgiYanagiya Tsubame IV 1916. Hanami-Ogi. Tsubame Rakugo Zenshfi : Sanyfi,Yanagi Rakugo Zenshfi vol. 9. Tokyo: Miyoshi-ya shoten. pp. 45-88.Sannen-me Imamura Nobuo (ed.) 1952. Sannen-me. Rakugo Senshfi: Seien Y Okai hen.Tokyo: Rakuraku-sha. pp. 1-17.Kokontei ShinshO V. 1971. Sannen-me. ShinshO Edo-banashi. Tokyo: RipptishobO. pp. 291-302.1977. Sannen-me. In Kawado Sadakichi and Momohara Hiroshi(eds).Godai-me Kokontei ShinshO Zenshfi vol.4. Tokyo:Kkibunshuppan. pp. 52-61.Sanyiltei EnshO V 1935. Sannen-me. Meisaku Rakugo Syfi. Tokyo: SeikOkanshoten. pp. 273-290.175Sanyfitei EnshO IV 1961. Sannen-me. EnshO Zensha 6. Tokyo: SeiabO. pp.35-50.1969-1970. Sannen-me. In Iijima Tomoharu (ed.) KotenRakugo Meijin Kai. Tokyo: Chikuma shobes. pp.85-97.1980. Sannen-me. EnshO Koten Rakugo 3. Tokyo: Shtlei-sha.pp.244-261.Sanyittei Enyil III (stenographer, Imamura JirO) 1980. Sannen-me no Yfirei.Kiien Sokki Meiji Taishb Rakugo Shasei vol.2. Tokyo: KOdan-sha.pp. 16-25.Tomita Hiroshi (ed.) 1969. Sannen-me. Edo Rakugo Meisaku-sen. pp. 101-112.(ed.) 1973. Sannen-me. Koten Rakugo Zensha. Tokyo: Kin'en-sha. pp. 633-644.Sara-ya Imamura Nobuo (ed.) 1962. Sara-ya. Rakugo Zensha vol.1. Tokyo: Kin'en-sha. pp. 202-218.Sanytitei En'u I 1980 (1908). Sara-ya. Klien Sokki Meiji Taish6 RakugoShasei. vol.6. Tokyo: KOdan-sha. pp. 372-379. 11 Original version appears in Bungei Kurabu, 1908.176Shunpiltei Ryfishi 1980(1910). Sara-ya. KOen Sokki Meiji TaishO Rakugoshasei. vol. 6. Tokyo: KOdan-sha. pp. 379-393. 2Yanagiya KingorO 1981. Sara-ya. ShOwa Senzen Kessaku Rakugo. Tokyo:KOdan-sha. pp. 5-28.Yanagiya Kosen I ("blind Kosen") 1929-1930. Sara-ya. Meisaku RakugoZensha vol.7 Tokyo: SOjin-sha shokyoku. pp. 172-188.1935. Sara-ya. Meisaku Rakugo shfi. Tokyo: Seildi-kan. pp. 172-1935. Sara-ya. Meisaku Rakugo Zensha: Ren' ai NinjO-hen..Tokyo: SeikO-kan. pp. 177-188.Sutoku-inIrifunetei SenkyO 1974. Sutoku-in. In Rakugo KyOkai (ed.) 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Tokyo: Shin'ei-sha. pp. 190-196.The Tokyo Agricultural University Rakugo Club. 1992. Interview. 10July.Tokyo Kawaraban. 1992. Tokyo: Tokyo Kawaraban, June 28.189Turnbull, Colin 1990. Liminality: a synthesis of subjective and objectiveexperience. In Richard Schechner and Willa Appel (eds.) ByMeans of Performance : Intercultural Studies of Theater andRitual. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 50 -81.Unesco. 1970. Educational Planning : a World Survey of Problems andProspects, London: HMSO.Watanabe, Morikuni 1976. Keim6 jidai no shi to shinjitsu (Poetry andTruth during the Enlightenment Era). In Matsuda Osamu (ed.)Nihon -bungaku Shinshi :Kinsei. Special edition ofKokubungaku toKanshO. pp.22 -42.Yano, Seiichi 1989. Rakugo Dokuhon::Seisen Sanbyaku-seki (RakugoGuidebook:300 Selected Stories). Tokyo: Bungei shunjil.190Glossary of TermsRomanization, Sino-Japanese characters, and English equivalents withexplanations of the rakugo-jargon and related terms introduced in thepaper.futatsume^, literally, "the second (one)" ; hanshika's rank afterzenza and before shin'uchi.Geijyutsusai^, the Fall Art Festival.Haru-rakugo t — ..1 1411, rakugo performed at various large hallsand theaters other than the jelseki.hanashi og, literally,"story"; the main story-part of a rakugonarration.hanshika girg, literally, "expert-story-teller"; rakugo performers.hashigakari tAtIV to , an entrance path used in traditional Japanesetheatrical arts; also used in Chinese theater (guen-dao YaA)ichigo-ichie —0J—t, literally, "first encounter is the last encounter";a principle of art cherished by Zelami and laterby Senno Rikyuu.iemoto Vc5t, the head of a traditional Japanese art school.iromono tAti, "variety entertainment, variety show"; especially thevariety programme offered at a yose betweennarrative arts.191.AJaren *31 , literally "habitual members"; regular yose-goers.josekr tig . , literally, "habitual seat"; regular performance theater ofyose arts.kaidan-banashi^, ghost stories.kamiseki^litarally, "the upper seat" ;the first ten days of a monthat the yose.koten rakugo tOlarlff, literally, "classic rakugo"; rakugo storiesbroadly considered traditional.króza igig, literally, "the upper position"; rakugo stage.makura^, literally, "pillow";the first part of rakugo narration.nakaseki cox, literally, "the middle seat"; the second ten days of amonth at the yose.ninjZ-baaashi ASatci:1 , literally, "human-feeling-story"; one of therakugo subgenres;stories not primarily aimed at farcical effects.ochi^, the ending of the story; a punch-line.ochiken Miff, rakugo reasearch clubs and fan clubs.otoshi-bana. hi^tci: , literally, "stories with a punch-line";the term used to designate rakugo before Meiji; one of the rakugo storygenres, emphasizing comedy efffects.192Pia I , a monthly and weekly event magazine in Tokyo.shibai-banashi^tti: , literally, "theatrical story"; rakugo storieswith theater-like motions and presentation.shimoseki -F,fg, literally, "the lower seat"; the final ten days of amonth at the yose.shinsaku rakugo^literally, "newly-created rakugo"; modernrakugo as opposed to classic rakugo.shin'uchi Wt1- , the mature status of the rakugo performers.shitamacbi Tier, the residencial areas of Edo townspeople.Tokyo Kawaraban *4 3.7.±1% r5rE, The monthly yose-art magazine.Zenza tiv, a curtain raiser;the lowest of the hanashika ranks.yose Mg, the theaters for traditional narative and otherentertaintment arts.Names of Rakugo Theatersthe Asakusa Fngei Hall AVA .21:47, — joseki in Asakusa.the Kokuritsu Engei JO\ 111;;X:r4, the National EntertainmentTheater; the only public joseki, located in Nagata-c.h6.193the Kokuritsu GekijS^[11,014, the National Theater.the Shinjuku Suehirotei Ifirg*irt*-- , j8seki in Shinjyuku.the Suzumoto Engei S6^jOseki in Ueno.the Yoshiike Hall t'it ;Pi^, j6seki-like theater in Okachimachi.Personal NamesKatsura Yonemaru^*A, the head of the Rakugo GeijyutsuKy8kai.Kokontei Imasuke^4-cAM, the forrnaer chairman of theRakugo Geijyutsu KyBkai.Kokontei Shinsh6 V E.te^t T t AA, one of the mostdistinguished hanashika of the post-war period.Sansh6tei Karaku VIII Aft^aX*-- iirm, one of the mostdistinguished hanashika of the post-war period.Sanyuutei Enraku HA* FIM, the head of the Enraku Faction.Senino Rikyu^an infamous tea master of Edo period.Tatekawa Danshi^I I Mt, the head of the Tatekawa School.Yanagiya Kosa.n firfc^A,, the chairman of the Rakugo KyOkai.194Names of Rakugo Associationsthe Rakugo Enraku-th IMP:Mit, the Enraku Faction.the Rakugo Geijutsu Kyakai nialritat, the Rakugo Art Society.the Rakugo Kyfikai^o^, the Rakugo Society.the Tatekawa-rya A.,1 1 IA, the Tatekawa School.

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