Shinoharu Tatekawa is a rakugo performer who studied at a U.S. university, and practices rakugo in English. You may be familiar with him from his Wochi Kochi Magazine essay series. David Zoppetti is a Swiss born novelist living in Japan who writes novels in Japanese. A discussion was held on June 8 between the rakugo performer and the novelist, who express themselves in a language other than their mother tongue. Under the witty guidance of J. MaXwell Powers as the moderator, discussions took place over 90 minutes covering the attractions of their respective activities of performing rakugo in English and writing novels in Japanese. In this article, we bring you a summary of the scene at the hall, where the discussions were met with great laughter and enjoyment.
Many people from all over the world will visit Japan during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. In consideration of this, various discussions are underway regarding the necessity to expand and improve the environment for people with disabilities, so that everyone can experience and enjoy Japan's diverse culture.
Shinoharu Tatekawa writes about tenugui (hand towels), one of two props used by rakugo performers on stage (the other is the sensu (folding fan)). Tenugui can represent a brush, a sword, or chopsticks. Among the practical uses, tenugui can be used for wiping sweat away when performing. It can also be put under a teacup instead of tray when zenza serve tea backstage. Tenugui can also serve as business cards for rakugo performers.
The Japan Foundation organizes the Japanese Studies Fellowships Program and gives preeminent foreign scholars in Japanese studies an opportunity to conduct research in Japan. One of the 2014 fellows, Ms. Alba G. Torrents, who has carried out her research "Technology, Body and Identity in the Imaginary of Anime" at Kyoto Seika for a year from October 2014, has contributed an essay titled "Anime as (Particularly Interesting) Thinking Devices."