As I wrote in my last blog entry, with the retirement of host Utamaru and the promotion of regular cast member Shunputei Shouta to the host position the popular and long-running comedy program Shouten was in the rare position of naming a new cast member tonight, There was lots of speculation among rakugo fans online about who would be the new edition to the program. Would it be a member of the Tatekawa rakugo family (who had a bit of a falling about with the show decades ago)? Would it be the talented Katsura Bunji or would the show go in an entirely new direction by naming the first female hanashika to join the show in Pikari? Well, it turns out none of this speculation ended up being true as Hayashiya Sanpei took his place between Hayashiya Kikuou and Sanyutei Enraku as the newest member of Shouten. Now I'll admit that I am nowhere near as educated on rakugo as many fans are but even I was a bit underwhelmed. It appears I was not alone as many shared their disappointment on line in the comment sections of related news articles. Many said they would not watch anymore or watch less with him on the show. Time will tell how successful Sanpei will be on winning over these fans. Stay tuned.