Classical Rakugo (classical comic story-telling) (古典落語)

Classical rakugo generally includes programs of Rakugo which were created from the Edo to Meiji eras. Programs which were created after Meiji era are called Shinsaku rakugo (a new and original rakugo story). Sosaku Rakugo (a creative rakugo story) is a term coined by a rakugo storyteller of the Kansai region, and Shinsaku rakugo is generally compared with Classical Rakugo.

Rakugo was created by TSUYU no Gorobe of Kyoto in the Edo era as a light kodan storytelling and tsuji-banashi (also called tsuji-gei, storytelling at crossroads). It was completed by Encho SANYUTEI in the Meiji era, and flourished as public culture along with urbanization and a growing literacy rate. Programs whose framework was made by this time are regarded as Classical rakugo. After the World War II, it maintained its popularity through radio rakugo theater and TV programs. However due to loss of classic culture at the public level, the passing away of famous rakugo storytellers, degrading level of successors, and diversification of entertainment, it is getting less popular. Nevertheless "Tiger and Dragon" of 2005 and drama series (morning drama series "Chiritotechin") of 2007 featuring a program of classical rakugo "Sudofu" became an opportunity for young generations to know rakugo, and there are increasing new fans.

Programs of classical rakugo are categorized by their stories into stories with comic endings and sentimental stories. In some cases they are further categorized by the punch line of a joke. As rakugo developed separately in Kamigata and Edo, some programs have different names or are found only in either area.

Main Programs

See 'Ochi' for detail of kinds of ochi.