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Thursday, August 22, 2019, 14:00 - 15:00

"Katsura Sunshine Goes Off-Broadway to Push Rakugo's Globalization"


Katsura Sunshine, "Rakugo" comic storyteller

Language: The speech and Q & A will be in English with simultaneous interpretation.


Canadian Katsura Sunshine has performed rakugo, the 400-year-old traditional Japanese art of comic storytelling, in some 15 countries on five continents. At 49, he is now ready for another milestone in rakugo's globalization – a long run off-Broadway.

"Katsura Sunshine's Rakugo" will debut at the New World Stages complex in New York on September 19 as a 3.5-month show presented by Japan's controversy-embroiled entertainment empire Yoshimoto Kogyo and New York producer Joe Trentacosta. The comedian, born as Gregory Robic to Slovenian parents in Toronto, hopes this will boost his quest to make rakugo "part of world vocabulary” like karaoke and kabuki. His publicist says this is the first time "any Japanese traditional art form has been presented as a long-run commercial theater venture."

An expert on ancient Greek comedies, Robic first came to Japan in 1999 to study traditional Japanese performing arts and found his love in rakugo. In 2008, he became an apprentice under Osaka-based rakugo master Katsura Bunshi VI. Using Japanese and/or English, and sometimes French, he is one of few non-Japanese who have professionally performed rakugo.

Touted as the King of Kimono Comedy, Sunshine toured North America for three months in 2013 and took on a seven-nation world tour in 2014. His career culminated with a three-week run at London’s Leicester Square Theatre in October 2017 and made his off-Broadway debut a month later with a three-week show at the SoHo Playhouse. With his expertise in intercultural communication, Sunshine took part in Osaka's successful bid for the 2025 World Expo and emceed at the opening reception of the G20 summit in Osaka in June.


Doors open for TV crew only at 13:15, all others at 13:30. Please reserve in advance, 3211-3161 or on the website (still & TV cameras inclusive). Reservations and cancellations are not complete without confirmation. Livestreaming of press conferences are available on our website(

*Due to space restrictions, please note there will be a limited number of reservations to attend. FCCJ members, including TV cameras, will have priority for the reservation and seating/setting positions and one TV camera for affiliate networks.

Professional Activities Committee

Aug 22 19 PC Katsura Sunshine041



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