Department of Anthropology, class of 2016
PhD Dissertation Title: RAKUGO HUMOR: The Performance of Memory, Mime, & Mockery in Urban Tokyo
Capstone Project: RAKUGO
Esra-Gökçe Sahin is a recent graduate in Social Anthropology and her dissertation research is based on the analysis of humor in Japanese traditional comedic storytelling, rakugo. While doing fieldwork she apprenticed a rakugo performer and performed rakugo in various venues in Tokyo. Esra’s CMP capstone project explores the everyday life of a Japanese comedian who has been performing rakugo since 1969. Rakugo, a genre dating back to the seventeenth century, is taught from master to apprentice. The process of apprenticeship is painstaking and is the only path to recognition as a true, professional rakugo performer. Esra’s project depicts the comedy master both as a serious mentor who considers the importance of sustaining the tradition, and a lighthearted man who finds joy in every moment of his life.