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【Engei Exhibition】 Four Seasons of Rakugo

  We are fast approaching the summer of 2020, during which the Olympic and Paralympic Games will take place in Tokyo. In advance of this occasion, we decided to look into the 2020 Games’ host city and look at the culture of both old Edo and present-day Tokyo. This approach allowed us to realize how the art of rakugo (Japanese traditional comic storytelling), which was born in the Edo period (1603-1868) and has been the center of commoners’ culture ever since, is a valuable testimony that reflects the lives of Japanese people.
  A rakugo show usually starts with a makura or a comic prelude, during which a performer tells an anecdote, sometimes referring to a comic poem such as this one: “Spring is fickle, summer is cheerful, autumn is melancholy, winter is gloomy, and the end of the year is bustling.” This poem portrays a year from the hopeful new beginning to the year-end hustle and bustle, suggesting how a rakugo storytelling depicts various scenes of the four seasons as enjoyed by samurais and townspeople.
  This exhibit introduces the collection at National Engei Hall, including nishiki-e or color woodblock prints, handwritten notes of former performers, and famous rakugo stories for each season, with a hope of giving visitors an opportunity to feel close to the Japan's four seasons as illustrated in rakugo stories.
 
Dates December 1 (Sun), 2019 - March 21 (Sat), 2020
Hours 10:00-18:00 (10:00-20:00 on every third Wednesday)
Closed December 24, 2019 ‒ January 1, 8‒10, 21‒31, February 21, 24, 26, 29, 2020
Venue National Engei Hall・Exhibition room
※Admission Free