New This Month! An Interview with Female Rakugoka Sanyutei Aiba
As some of you may have noticed, I have an interview section in the website. It features interviews with a variety of professional and amateur comedians who perform manzai or rakugo. Unfortunately, I don’t get to update it as often as I would like to because it is hard because it takes lot of time to do these interviews and then even longer to transcribe and translate them. Because of this, I have a backlog of interesting but long interviews. One such interview was the one I conducted with female rakugo performer Sanyutei Aiba. Actually, when I talked with her a couple years ago, she was still going by the name Tachibanano Futaba. Recently, Aiba was recently promoted to shin’uchi, the top rank in the world or rakugo. It is the culmination of many years of hard work (often taking up to 15 years) and with it, rakugoka are often given a new name by their master, hence the switch.
With this momentous achievement I thought now was the perfect time dust off and transcribe, translate and release this interview. I first met Aiba (then Futaba) as one of my instructors at the Nittere Gakuen class for rakugo enthusiasts. Run by television station NTV, the class gives amateur rakugo fans the opportunity to be taught by professional rakugoka with the goal of performing a rakugo story live at the end of the three month course. Female rakugoka are relatively rare in the rakugo world so after completing the course I made sure to get an interview with her to get her unique perspective on working in this traditional world. So, please stop by and read my in-depth interview with this talented performer.
Published June 6th, 2019