[JCD Performer Series] San’Yutei Ponta (Rakugo-ka) Brings Laughter to Michigan

Japan Cultural Development/ March 9, 2024/ PRESS

San’Yutei Ponta (Rakugo-ka) Brings Laughter to Michigan

Bio for San’yūtei Ponta and Description of the Event

San’yūtei Ponta was born in Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture in 1985. He graduated from the Department of Sociology of Hosei University in Tokyo. In 2015, Ponta became the seventh disciple of rakugo artist San’yūtei Kōraku and he was promoted to futatsume, the second-highest rank for rakugo performers, in November of 2018.

His stage name, San’yūtei Ponta II, comes from San’yūtei Ponta I [1832-1881], who was a disciple of rakugo master San’yūtei Enchō I [1839-1900], the most famous performer of the late nineteenth century. Ponta revived this stage name for the first time in 100 years.

Like his namesake, Ponta is an up-and-coming rakugo storyteller, performing not only humorous stories, but also many tales of human emotion and ghost stories written by San’yūtei Enchō I. Ponta has prepared three such stories for performance today: the humorous stories Chōtan (“Long and Short”) and Tengu sabaki (“Trial by Tengu”), and Shinigami (“Grim Reaper”), a chilling tale by San’yūtei Enchō I.

In accordance with rakugo convention, Ponta will choose one of these stories to perform based on the audience that evening. The performance in Japanese with English subtitles.

San’yūtei Ponta’s performance will consist of three parts:

① The event begins with a demonstration of rakugo gestures, allowing participants to have fun learning rakugo, and through the demonstration, give them a taste of the scenery and life in Japan.

② Rakugo is performed by choosing a theme suited to the audience from among the famous themes of Shinigami (“Grim Reaper”), Chōtan (“Long and Short”), and Tengu Sabaki (“Trial by Tengu”). The performance will be in Japanese with English language subtitles prepared by Prof. Melissa Van Wyk of the University of Chicago
projected on slides along with Ponta’s narration. The fact that Prof. Wyk, the translator, is a big fan of rakugo seems to be a blessing in disguise for San’yūtei Ponta.

③ Finally, the performance will end with a question-and-answer session. The performance will last approximately one hour. San’yūtei Ponta will make the audience laugh and cry with his powerful performance.

For DIA event information and ticket purchases, please use link below.
Rakugo: Traditional Japanese Storytelling with San’yūtei Ponta

below for other performances
Monroe City River Raisin National Battlefield Park on April 16
Ann Arbor District Library on April 18
Eastern Michigan University on April 19
Michigan State University on April 19

Share this Post