Rōkyoku Cinderella – Written by Tamagawa Nanafuku, based on the story of Charles Perrault
Rōkyoku is genre of Japanese narrative singing (katarimono). Its roots are said to go back to elements of ancient Japanese religious music; as a form of performing arts it was established in the Meiji-period. A piece is presented by two people: the musician (kyokushi) accompanies the performer (rōkyokushi) on shamisen, whose performance alternates between singing and prose parts. While the singing sections (fushi) introduce the background of the story and the feelings of the characters, in the narrative sections (tanka) the performer acts out the dialogues between the characters. Both the singer and musician play without sheet music, so their performances are semi-inprovised, creating a ’live’ feeling.
There is a saying, if there are a hundred rōkyoku performers, they sing in hundred different ways. That is beacuse each rōkyokushi has to build their own ’fushi’, namely singing style – even if they inherit the family name of their school and the performing style of their master. TAMAGAWA Nanafuku is a kyokushi-turned- rōkyokushi. From traditional to modern, the rōkyoku pieces performed by her are very diverse; moreover she also creates new pieces. She has been producing various events, engaging in exchanges with traditional Japanese performing arts (e.g. noh, gidayu) and music in other genres – like opera or pansori (Korean folk opera) – in a variety of ways. Since 2012 she is a director of the ’Japanese Naniwa-bushi Reciting Association’. In 2018, she travelled to seven countries in Europe and Central Asia as ’Japan Cultural Envoy’ appointed by the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs. She is a highly acclaimed and award winning perfomer, and now you can watch online her rōkyoku adaptaion of Cinderella, basen on the tale of Charles Perrault. Accompanied on shamisen by kyokushi master SAWAMURA Toyoko.
The video will be published September 11, 2020 at 6 p.m. (CEST) on the YouTube channel of the Japan Foundation, Budapest.
English subtitles are available on YouTube in the ’Settings’ of the video!
After publication the direct link to the YouTube video will be available under the Digital Programs menu of our website.