Haruno, Tamagawa form 'rokyoku' unit
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
Keiko Haruno, a variety-show star who became a rokyoku singing storyteller, has teamed up with producer and rokyoku performer Nanafuku Tamagawa.
Rokyoku is a style of narrative singing, often with samisen.
The duo's debut performance--titled "Rokyoku Typhoon!"--will be held Oct. 9 in Tokyo's Koto Ward.
The program includes classic rokyoku narrative ballads performed by Takako Sawa, president of the national rokyoku association. The unit will perform manzai (stand-up comedy usually performed by a duet) using samisen and other musical instruments.
They will also sing old school songs with rokyoku melodies.
Rokyoku used to be hugely popular, but now there are fewer than 40 professional narrators in the Kanto region and only 20 in the Kansai region.
Tamagawa narrates with a Kanto-style melody, while Haruno's is based on Kansai-style music.
"We can't stay content simply performing rokyoku if we hope to recapture the audience," Haruno said. "(Tamagawa and I) share a sense of mission that we shoulder the future of rokyoku."
The performance will open at 2 p.m. at the Camellia Hall of the Kameido Bunka Center.
Haruno played the character Keiko Sensei in the popular variety program "Susunu! Denpa Shonen" (Don't go on, airwave boy!) acting as a tutor to a high school student preparing for a university entrance examination. She is a graduate of the prestigious University of Tokyo.
Rōkyoku (浪曲; also called naniwa-bushi, 浪花節) is a genre of traditional Japanese narrative singing. Generally accompanied by a shamisen, rōkyoku became very popular in Japan during the first half of the 20th century.