Research & Activities

rakugo.pcc20160728195050Matt Shores researches comic modes of expression, both performed and literary, from premodern times to today. He has special interest in literature and traditional performing arts of the Kamigata (modern Kansai) region, but is also drawn to subjects removed from these, such as culture and media in colonial Japan and literature by individuals from discriminated and/or underrepresented groups (e.g., women, Zainichi Koreans, Ryūkyūans, Ainu, LGBT, the disabled, elderly, etc.).

Performing the rakugo story Tachigire senkō (The Time Is Up Incense)Shores continues translating rakugo for publication in an upcoming anthology and is planning a second monograph, which will cover the history of variety entertainment (engei). His current research deals with topics such as amateur storytelling clubs in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Osaka, rakugo’s negotiation of militarism during the World War II years, and the performance of food in rakugo.

He has designed and taught new courses on Japanese humor and stage performance and enjoys organizing performance events with students for campuses and local communities. He has also carried out outreach projects in collaboration with various organizations and institutions, from children’s international schools and senior centers to maximum security prisons.


Shores serves as the program director for Traditional Theater Training (T.T.T.), a three-week summer intensive training program that introduces the traditional arts of noh, kyogen, and Nihonbuyō (there is also a short course on offer for kotsuzumi [hourglass-shaped hand drum, played on shoulder]). The program takes place in the heart of Kyoto and is based on the practice-recital approach, allowing participants from all over the world to learn the skills and experience the spirit of traditional performing arts. Participants can also build on their own self-expression and/or supplement their research activities. Open to all nationalities, ages, and genders regardless of educational or artistic background.

Upcoming Talks/Events

Portland State University, October 14 & 15   more information coming soon
University of Oregon, October 20   more information coming soon

Recent Talks/Events

In alphabetical order
Association for Asian Studies, Cambourne Village College, Japanese Translator’s Network, Kyoto Art Center, Lewis and Clark College, Oxford University, Sapienza Università di Roma, Senshû University, SOAS – University of London, Tôyô ongaku gakkai (Society for Research in Asiatic Music), Tsukuba University, University of Cambridge, Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures, Sutton Trust Summer School, University of East Anglia, University of Oregon, Yale University, Camera Festival Japan (Netherlands).

Kamigata Rakugo & Me

Screenshot 2017-05-10 17.08.04Kamigata Rakugo & Me is a bilingual web log that Shores kept as a Ph.D. student, from 2010 to 2014. The blog is about Kamigata Rakugo, his experiences as a researcher of the art, and other Japan-related matters that interested him. He is no longer posting there, but one may find stories of interest related to Kamigata rakugo and other things related to Japanese culture. Please keep in mind that Kamigata rakugo can be heard every day of the year at Hanjōtei, Dōrakutei, Tanabe Yose, and other venues around Osaka and beyond. Here’s hoping to see you there!

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