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The Comic Storytelling of Western Japan: Satire and Social Mobility in Kamigata Rakugo (Cambridge University Press, 2021)

  • Inoue Yasushi Award for Outstanding Research in Japanese Literature, Culture and Art
  • School of Languages and Cultures Early Career Researcher Prize for Best Book
Cover image and link to book, The Comic Storytelling of Western Japan: Satire and Social Mobility in Kamigata Rakugo

… a triumph [that] has the potential to become seminal to our understanding of and future academic engagement with rakugo… highly readable and often entertaining… whets the appetite and makes Kamigata rakugo more accessible for readers interested in Japanese performance, literature, and comedy.

Till Weingärtner, University College Cork, The Journal of Japanese Studies

Other reviews of The Comic Storytelling of Western Japan

The positioning of rakugo as a subject for mainstream academic attention has been a long time coming. This book sets it in the firmament as a discipline worthy of such treatment. The Comic Storytelling of Western Japan lends itself to use by anyone needing an approachable resource to draw from in studying – or preparing a course on – Japanese humour or social history.
Ian McArthur, The University of Sydney, Japan Forum

In this well-researched introduction to its history, texts and performance practice, Shores successfully demonstrates that Kamigata rakugo is a Japanese cultural treasure in its own right, and in no way a lesser ‘second-city’ version of Edo rakugo.
Lorie Brau, University of New Mexico, Theatre Research International

Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. Shores bases this volume on an immense amount of research… details the history… largely about the literary content of the stories… providing many performance details.
C. Lanki, University of British Columbia, CHOICE

… a rich account of a particularly interesting element of Japanese entertainment. … recommended not only for rakugo researchers and enthusiasts but also for Japanese studies researchers with an interest in the history of entertainment in Japan.
Simon Regin Paxton, Komazawa University, Asian Ethnography


“A Celebrity’s Fifteen-Year Reign and Reinvention of Kamigata Rakugo.” Japanese Studies 43, no. 1 (2023).

An Argument for Rakugo as Literature.”  Journal for the Society for Asian Humanities 53: 264-84 (2022).

Everybody’s Comfier with a Good Pillow: Rakugo’s Makura Prologues.” Asian Theatre Journal 38, no. 2 (2021).

Using Yoshikono and War to Save Rakugo in Osaka.Japan Forum 30, no. 3: 394-420 (2018).

Jippensha Ikku, Hizakurige, and Comic Storytelling.” Early Modern Japan: An Interdisciplinary Journal 20: 46-75 (2012).

Travel and Tabibanashi in the Early Modern Period: Forming Japanese Geographic Identity.” Asian Theatre Journal 25, no. 1: 101-121 (2008).


“The Makura of Rakugo: Tradition and Modernity” in Humour in Asian Cultures: Tradition and Context. Edited by Jessica Milner Davis (Taylor & Francis, 2022).

Rakugos Negotiation of Militarism during the World War II Years” in Defamiliarizing Japan’s Asia-Pacific War. Edited by W. Puck Brecher and Michael Myers (University of Hawai‘i Press, 2019).

“Mishima Yukio (1925-1970)” in Global Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) History. Edited by Howard Chiang (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2019).

“Spotlight – Popular Arts: Rakugo and Misemono” in A History of Japanese Theatre. Edited by Jonah Salz (Cambridge University Press, 2016).

“Laughter After Wars: Rakugo Under the American Occupation” in Rising from the Flames: The Rebirth of Theatre in Occupied Japan, 1945-1952. Edited by Samuel L. Leiter (Lexington Books, 2009).

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