4/14 DETROIT: Rakugo: Japan Cultural Development to invite San’yutei Ponta to Detroit Institute of Arts, Sun, April 14, 2:00PM

DETROIT – Japan Cultural Development brings Rakugo performance by San’yūtei Ponta to the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) on Sunday, April 14, 2024 from 2:00pm to 3:30pm.

The performance in Japanese with English subtitles. The performance venue will be in the newly renovated Lecture Hall with capacity of 300.

To enjoy his performance at DIA, audiences need to purchase a ticket in addition to the admissions of the museum.

Tickets will be purchased on the DIA website. Ticket is $12.00 each, and a handling fee will be added at the time of payment.

Amount of sold tickets will be deposited into DIA’s “Japan Program Fund” and will be used to fund Japanese cultural activities at DIA.

Tickets will be sold through DIA website from the middle of March, about one month prior to the performance.

Along with the Detroit Institute of Arts, San’yutei Ponta will perform Rakugo at
April 16, 6:30 pm: Visitor Center at River Raisin Battlefield Park, Monroe.
April 18, 6:00 pm: Lobby Hall, Ann Arbor Public Library
April 19, 1:00 pm: Eastern Michigan University’s Alexander Music Building
April 19, 7:00 pm: RCAH Theater, Snyder-Philip Hall, Michigan State University
Stories: Shini Gami (Grim Reaper), Chou-Tan (Long and Short), and Tengu Sabaki (Tengu Judgement), and the story to be told will be different at each venue.

San’yūtei Ponta and the Rakugo Events in Michigan

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 for Michigan events: 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.