Already closed | 1h 30m | Midtown W

Katsura Sunshine's Rakugo

From 147 member  reviews
Members say: Funny, Entertaining, Clever, Delightful, Quirky

About the show

The only living non-Japanese Master of the very Japanese art of comic storytelling, brings Rakugo to New York. More…

From the show:

With a minimal set, Katsura Sunshine's Rakugo features a lone storyteller dressed in kimono, kneeling on a cushion, using only a fan and a hand towel for props, entertains the audience with a comic monologue followed by a traditional story.

1h 30m | Already closed | New World Stages (Midtown W)

Member Reviews (147)


Funny, Entertaining, Clever, Delightful, Quirky
Avg Score

Broad humor, Interesting cultural sharing, Great for kids (family fare program), Intimate setting, Sunshine is sincere and animated

See it if you have a kid in tow for Long Name, Miso Bean, Tiger...the stories were kid pleasers. I found them repetitive and only mildly humorous

Don't see it if you expect a full program of entertainment; 11/19 was 50 minutes. KS ardently tried to please; interesting exposure to Japanese comedy.

Also I wish Katsura Sunshine had talked about what drew him to Rakugo and w... Read more Read less

Funny, Quirky, Entertaining, Delightful, Clever

See it if You want to experience a multi cultural stand up show or if you like one person shows.

Don't see it if If you don’t like one person shows.

Good-natured, Interesting, Entertaining, Amusing

See it if you want to see a good-humored, cheerful, unique brand of Eastern storytelling from a good-humored, cheerful master of the specialized art.

Don't see it if u prefer concise, succinct storytelling; u expect knee-slapping, side-splitting comedy [The humor's innocuous & cute, not esp. hilarious.]

Also Note: The stories change from month-to-month, so check the website bef... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Slow, Quirky, Entertaining, Funny

See it if Katsura's quirky, ingratiating persona is the highlight of this fusion evening of Japanese storytelling & stand-up Intro monologue well done

Don't see it if Evening a little long-ish w/ Katsura taking his time working the audience & often getting sidetracked while cultural stories (jokes) modest

Overrated, Insipid, Funny, Quirky, Entertaining

See it if you'd like a little exposure to Japanese language and customs where you get a few chuckles by a charismatic storyteller.

Don't see it if you expect hilarity - I got to the punch lines before he did! Also, this adult version contained 1/3 of his family show by his own admission

Quirky, Slow, Stylized presentation, Unique experience, Beautifully staged

See it if you are interested in Japanese culture. It is an opportunity to see this technique demonstrated in English with acknowledged differences

Don't see it if you dislike presentations with no physical action or humor that depends on lots of verbal repetitions.

Informative, Funny, Great acting, Clever

See it if Tall, blond Slovenian/Canadian relates comedic dinnertime, bilingual stories on a lanterned set. It's proper to overfill the sake glass.

Don't see it if The host is an excellent, conversant performer and the cultural information is invaluable,but the constant hanky-dabbing is most distracting

Also Although generous with compliments, polite culture requires denial of ... Read more Read less

Funny, Quirky, Dated, Entertaining, Ambitious

See it if You have an interest in Japanese theatre and/or social customs. You enjoy broad humor. You like solo shows. You like simple stagings.

Don't see it if Japanese culture doesn't interest you. You don't like the stand-up format. You don't like old-school, schtick-y humor.

Also Since the stories change monthly, this review is for the January shows... Read more Read less


See it if First part is stand-up & very short stories. Last part is an extended story. Builds rapport w/audience. Engaging w/many jokes. 90 minutes.

Don't see it if Performer may want to rethink asking audience who consider themselves "the elite" as it's now used as a derogatory term in politics.

Also Impressive how he called out Show-Score reviews during the show. And p... Read more Read less

Clever, Good natured with a slight edge, Warm fuzzies, Light-hearted

See it if you want a slice of Japanese culture and helpful travel tips. Blend of folk tale humor & colorful travel anecdotes.

Don't see it if you want something heavier that sticks to your bones.

Also I’d never heard of rakugo before and saw the Traditional Stories. Expe... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Quirky, Funny

See it if You are interested in the Japanese culture and their approach to comedy or want to experience unusual storytelling stand-up comedy.

Don't see it if If you prefer traditional plays and comedy or do not particulary care to experience other cultures’ approach to comedy.

Thought-provoking, Funny, Skilled performer, Educational, Entertaining

See it if you want a taste of Japanese culture in the form of comic story telling. Enjoyable night out, great delivery by a talented actor.

Don't see it if you have no interest in Japanese culture or one person shows.

Also Although I enjoyed this show, I was a bit put off when the performer s... Read more Read less

Pleasant, Appealing storyteller, Somewhat dull, Unvaried, A bit bland

See it if you like low key humor, a pleasant and appealing story teller and comedy that obvious and not "edgy."

Don't see it if you favor humor that is fast, timely, relevant, political, sexual, satiric or irascible.

Culturally interesting, Neither funny nor scary, Slow, Disappointing, Cliched

See it if you would like to experience in English, instead of subtitles to Japanese, traditional Japanese storytelling or comedy by non-Japanese actor

Don't see it if you prefer experiencing this art form from a Japanese native, in English or Japanese, or cutting edge stand up comedy, drama, play, musical

Also I found solo storytelling for 90 minutes with no interval tedious.

Great acting, Delightful

See it if You like A special type of Japanese comedy.

Don't see it if You don’t like Japanese culture.

Mildly entertaining, Quirky, Energetic, Ambitious, Genuine

See it if you'd enjoy a uniquely different experience. It's like stand-up (but kneeling). Well-meaning, genuine, culturally respectful, high-energy.

Don't see it if you want to see a str8 play. We mistakenly saw a Saturday "family" matinee, w/contents for more of a kids-filled audience. Mildly humorous.

Also Kudos to Katsura Sunshine.... Read more Read less

Different, Quirky, Intelligent, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if you're interested in Japanese culture--or open to learning more about it;like storytelling--this wasn't really a play;like physical comedy.

Don't see it if you're looking for a traditional theatre experience; dislike one-person shows

Also This is the kind of thing that I'd never try if it weren't for Show-Sc... Read more Read less

Delightful, Entertaining, Funny, Clever, Insightful

See it if You're familiar with Japanese culture. Or not; Sunshine is tremendously engaging, a skilled raconteur and the stories are universal.

Don't see it if You're looking for a play rather than experiencing a 400 year old yet totally modern Japanese entertainment and art form told by a Canadian.

Also Katsura Sunshine is blonde, Canadian, about six feet tall and the firs... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Refreshing

See it if You're interested in this Japanese comedic storytelling art. Light hearted, amusing, enjoyable.

Don't see it if If you aren't interested in a solo show with minimal staging.

Clever, Enchanting, Entertaining, Funny, Delightful

See it if you have children to take to the family show. The families loved it, especially the Japanese families.

Don't see it if don't see the afternoon performance for families - if you want to see an adult show. See the evening performance for adults

Also I made the mistake of seeing the afternoon play. It was cute and I was... Read more Read less

Funny, Entertaining, Clever

See it if you like a congenial, interesting evening. A rare treat to see an ancient art form presented in such a fun way.

Don't see it if don't like one man shows our you want an action filed show.

Quirky, Funny, Entertaining, Clever

See it if This is a family freindly show. Learning about the Japanese culture relating to this show was great. No show like this.

Don't see it if You was to see a show that will make you cry laughing. This is a light hearted funny show.

Rak is not wack

See it if You enjoy standup comedy, but prefer to skip the two drink minimum. KS has audience in stitches throughout. Such a charming performer.

Don't see it if You need weightier theater with some meat on bones. Stories are very light and breezy. Walking on Sunshine music at close stroke of genius!

Also Rakugo is new to most New Yorkers, but has clearly done something righ... Read more Read less

Repetitive, Unusual, Quirky, Slow

See it if you are curious about other culture's art/entertainment forms

Don't see it if you want drama or comedy

Funny, Overrated, Refreshing, Disappointing

See it if you wish to see one of the more lightweight Japanese art forms with simplistic stories drawn out almost ad nauseam with little ay off.

Don't see it if if ur tastes run to serious Japanese theater traditions like Butoh, you are not a Japanese child, you know something about Japanese culture

October 1st, 2019
"‘Katsura Sunshine’s Rakugo’ Offers Stand-Up Comedy Without the Standing: Mr. Sunshine is one of the rare Westerners to become a master of the centuries-old Japanese comic storytelling form."
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October 5th, 2019
"It's almost impossible to dislike Katsura Sunshine, whose presence is immediately disarming… If you question whether the funny would get lost between different cultures, rest assured because here, humor is quite the universal language and laughter never needs translation."
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October 27th, 2019
"I’ve seen rakugo in Japan but never in English, which made it such a delight to visit…Katsura Sunshine’s often hilarious performance…His audience-friendly act…ranges from 15-second jokes to extended narratives, always with an inevitable punchline…Just watching Sunshine’s facial and gestural cont...
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November 26th, 2017
for a previous production "The stylized telling involves a great deal of repetition, mobile facial expressions, sound effects and much exaggeration—all delightfully intimate and low-keyed...'Rakugo' may be a bit coy and small-scale in its storytelling for Americans, although it is difficult to judge by this one, singularl...
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