I am a DPhil candidate in Area Studies (Japan) at St Antony’s College, affiliated with the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies and the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies, and a Clarendon Scholar.
My research focuses on the Japanese performing art of rakugo, a centuries-old form of oral comic storytelling which has witnessed a significative revival in popularity since the beginning of the 21st century, and has been singled out among Japanese traditional performing arts as the only one whose number of performers is not declining. By tackling the puzzle of rakugo’s success, my project aims to provide helpful lessons for anyone interested in saving an endangered cultural industry or art world, at a time when COVID-19 induced restrictions pose an existential challenge to performing arts around the globe.
As an investigation of a intriguing phenomenon in contemporary Japanese society, and as a socio-anthropologic account of an understudied community, this thesis will hopefully produce insights of interest both to the scholar of Japanese Studies and to the Social Scientist, ranging from how ‘traditional’ cultural products and careers can maintain their relevance in modern societies, to how socio-cultural norms regulate humour and satire in Japan, how class and class-consciousness play out in the world of Japanese entertainers, and how women can negotiate their roles in hitherto male-dominated fields.
I hold an MSc in Japanese Studies from the University of Oxford and a BA (Honors) in Languages, Cultures and Societies of Asia and Mediterranean Africa from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice.
Supervisor: Professor Roger Goodman
Department: Oxford School of Global and Area Studies
College: St. Antony’s College
Research Keywords: Japan, Rakugo, Performing Arts, Humour, Satire, Traditional Arts, Class, Gender, Ethnography, Digital Ethnography