Japanese Vaudeville at Portland State
Author: Angela D. Abel, Office of University Communications, 503-725-8794
Posted: October 9, 2006

Japanese Vaudeville, UtamaruWhat: A touring Japanese vaudeville group will visit Portland State for two unique rakugo performances. Best described as the traditional Japanese vaudeville-entertainment of comic storytelling, rakugo presents a performer seated on a small cushion who acts out hilarious anecdotes, slipping in and out of the role of the narrator and other characters with a mimetic gestural language and a handful of props. Rakugo presentations will be accessible to English speakers by means of supertitles.

The vaudeville program also includes traditional kamikiri, the trick of high-speed paper-cutting, making a variety of surprising designs, and will be accompanied by a live shamisen, the three-string lute. The November 6 show features the highly celebrated TV regular and rakugo legend Katsura Utamaru, the "Johnny Carson" of Japan. The November 7 show will put the shamisen at center stage for a brief solo concert. The performances are presented by the PSU Center for Japanese Studies

When: November 6–7, 2006 at 7 p.m.

Where: Lincoln Hall, rm. 75 (1620 SW Park Ave.).

Cost: Admission is free and open to the public.

Contact: For more information contact Laurence Kominz at 503-725-5288 or the PSU Center for Japanese Studies at 503-725-8577.

Background: The Center for Japanese Studies (CJS), housed in the Institute for Asian Studies at PSU, supports research on Japan and the Japanese-American experience. CJS provides a forum for related academic activities and the free exchange of ideas. The Center is committed to preparing PSU students to become leaders in business, government, arts and the academy by fostering cross-cultural understanding. It seeks to facilitate understanding of Japan as well as the Japanese-American experience among students, faculty, and the greater Portland community through a variety of curricular and outreach programs.

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