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Interview with Tatekawa Shiraku | A place where you can check your growth

立川志らくインタビュー|自分の成長を確かめることができる場所

Interview & Text: Masamasa Nishino Photo (Portrait): Eri Nishiyama

"Sequel, Shiraku 100 Seats" by Tatekawa Shiraku, a specialty project of Yokohama Nigiwai-za, has finally reached 100 seats. Since one performance will show almost three seats (story), it took five years to reach 100 seats. However, as you may have noticed by looking at the title, as the title "Continued", this 100 seats is the second time. For 10 years, including the first and the second, the master who aspires to be in the lively seat has continued the solo performance. What is the difference between this series that can be continued in the same place so far from a normal solo performance, and what will happen to this series after "Tatekawa Shiraku Hundred Seats" is over? I was able to hear the story in the dressing room just before the final performance of the "sequel series" that will be achieved.

── Today, "Tatekawa Shiraku Hundred Seats" has reached 100 seats and will be finished. What made you start "Tatekawa Shiraku Hundred Seats", which was the advancement of this series? Is not it.

Tatekawa Shiraku (hereinafter referred to as Shiraku): Since the opening of the Nigiwai-za, I have been holding Ichimonkai and solo performances. However, the Ichimonkai was a format in which my disciples came out and I did only one seat at the end, so there weren't many customers. And at the solo performance that was held at the Giwaiza in the old days, I invited various guests such as singer Yoshie Kashiwabara and film director Nobuhiko Obayashi, but I said "I want to hear more rakugo". We received a lot of information and planned "Shiraku Hundred Seats", saying, "Then, let's sit down and do it as a complete solo performance." In the past, this title was recorded and sold in the studio by Ensho Sanyutei, a master of the Showa era called "Hundred Seats", in order to leave his rakugo to posterity. I announced all the performances that said, "Then, I'll do it live." Then, the number of customers increased steadily, and thanks to you, advance sales are now sold out.

──Why did you continue to have 100 seats as "Sequel / Shiraku 100 seats" even after the first "Shiraku 100 seats" was completed?

Shiraku : It took almost five years to do 100 seats, but when I tried it, it ended in a blink of an eye. I had 100 seats, so I could have finished it as it was, but there was a talk from Mr. Nigiwai-za that I would like him to continue, and I thought that if I started with exactly the same content, I would be able to understand the growth of my rakugo. I started "Sequel, Shiraku Hundred Seats". Some may have grown and some may have degenerated, and there may be criticism as well as laughter. I decided to try again, including those.

Tatekawa Shiraku

──Hundred seats are literally quite a volume, but are there any criteria for choosing a program or overall composition criteria?

Shiraku : There are only about 300 seats in the storytelling that is performed in rakugo. When I started 100 seats, I had about 150 seats, and now I have about 200 seats. We divide them into "what we do well", "what we do occasionally", and "what we rarely do", but one rakugo party has about three seats and fits in about two hours. Therefore, we select "small story, medium story, and large story" from the three to compose the whole.

──I heard that you have a plan for the next new series.


Shiraku : I haven't announced it yet, but after "Continued", it will be "New Shiraku 100 Seats" (laughs). In the 10 years since I came to the 100-seat series, there are new stories that were prepared by this series, and stories that I did not usually do at all, but I have come to do quite a lot through the series. So, in this new series, as a whole replacement work, I will throw away the ones that I did not respond much to in the 100 seats so far, not only add new material, but also try changing the order of the material to be replayed once. I'm going to try it.

──You have actually been trying for 10 years to perform an unprecedented attempt to perform the same performance at the same venue for 100 seats. Is there anything that you noticed as a master?

Shiraku : Isn't it best to know your vague growth concretely? The entertainer remembers what wasn't good, rather than what was good. I couldn't do it once, but when I felt a completely different response the second time, I could clearly understand that I had grown that much. If you do it here and there, you will get a good response everywhere, and if you try the material that you received elsewhere, you will not receive much. Because you are receiving iron plates everywhere, that pride may stop your growth, so this series is established as a place where you can objectively see your growth, rather than confirming it. ..

──It is said that you have not received the material that you received elsewhere, but the performance at the Nigiwai-za has a different atmosphere from other venues, isn't it?

Shiraku : After all, this theater is a place created by Hiroshi Tamaoki (former director) who loves rakugo, so I think it's the easiest space in the suburbs of Tokyo. I personally don't like being eaten and drank during a performance in a bright place in the audience, but I don't really care about it at this venue. Familiar with rakugoMost of the customers who don't have it are eating and drinking like watching TV at home, so it's difficult to do this, and it's a nuisance to the customers around me. But all the customers who come here like it and come here, so I understand it properly and eat and drink. I'm not drunk even if I drink it, and while enjoying rakugo properly, I drink it "to the extent that I enjoy it" (laughs).

──Rakugo is the main character (laughs).

Shiraku : That's right. That's how many customers are aware of. Even though it's such an easy place, there are times when the reaction is bad, so as I mentioned earlier, it's a place where you can check your growth.

──By the way, I heard about the new series earlier, but do you have any plans for the future as to how far you can continue this “100 seats series” in the future?

Shiraku : If Mr. Nigiwai-za lets me do it … the new series will end again in five years, but the next time I do it, I will have a 60th birthday. So next time I think it will be the "60th birthday series". And after 5 years, I'm in the middle of 60 years old, so it's the "maturity series", and the next one is 70 years old, so it's the "last series" (laughs). If I'm fine after that, I think it will be a "will series" at the middle of 70 years old, and if I'm still fine at 80 years old, it will be a "still alive! Series", so if I want to do it, I can continue forever. ..

Tatekawa Shiraku

Shiraku : When I'm about 70 years old, customers can enjoy such things as "I'm watching from the first time" and "It's completely different from the past", and in that respect it's just that. I think that it will be more fun for the audience than the solo performance of.

── Finally, could you give a message not only to rakugo fans, but also to those who have not seen rakugo yet and who are interested in it now?

Shiraku : If you love rakugo and go to school, you don't have to go through all 100 seats. If you go through all of them, you may get bored and you may not come, so please choose the one that you think "let's go" (laughs). And for those who haven't seen rakugo yet, the solo performance is a hit and miss. If you miss it, you may think that this person's performance will not go anymore, but in the case of the "Hundred Seats Series", it is divided into three parts in a well-balanced manner, so the "big mistake" is is not. Rakugo may seem like a high threshold, but if you visit it like watching a movie or a play, you can enjoy it without much knowledge. All you have to do is understand Japanese (laughs).

── Thank you before the performance today. We are also looking forward to the next "New Hundred Seats Series"!

After the interview, I saw the last performance of the "sequel series". The themes announced on the day were "Grim Reaper" and "Nakamura Nakazo". "Grim reaper" who can't take his eyes off the random behavior of the hero who was blinded by greed and the interaction with the god of death. Among them, "Nakamura Nakazo", which was performed at the end, is a performance that talks in detail about the trial and error and conflicts until the success of the real-life actor, Nakamura Nakazo, and only the fun of the story.Instead, I'm just interested in discovering new knowledge as to whether there was such a person. Of course, I was ashamed to say that I didn't have any prior knowledge of those performances, but I was able to enjoy each performance while understanding it from the beginning to the end. As was the case in the interview, some people may feel that rakugo is a bit difficult, but that is not the case. Rakugo can be enjoyed regardless of age, and it's okay if you understand Japanese! Please take a look at the world of rakugo.

2015.9.15 Continued from Shiraku Hundred Seats "Grim Reaper" | Photo: Masako Yamada

2015.9.15 Continued from Shiraku Hundred Seats "Grim Reaper" | Photo: Masako Yamada

[Tatekawa Shiraku appearance information! ]

● The 4th edition of the 30th anniversary of Shiraku "Tatekawa Shiraku Solo Performance with ZAZEN BOYS"

10/30 (Friday) 19: 00- Yurakucho International Forum C

● "The last Tatekawa Shiraku solo performance of the year"

12/23 (Wednesday / holiday) 13: 30- Yurakucho Yomiuri Hall

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