Noted Rakugo Storyteller Shofukutei Nikaku Dies at 84

Society Culture

Tokyo, Aug. 20 (Jiji Press)--Noted rakugo storyteller Shofukutei Nikaku, who was also a popular television presenter, died of myelodysplastic syndrome at his home in Osaka Prefecture, western Japan, on Tuesday. He was 84.

An influential practitioner of "kamigata" rakugo, the traditional style performed mainly in Osaka and Kyoto, Nikaku, an Osaka native, became a student of Shofukutei Shokaku VI in 1962.

Nikaku, whose real name was Takeshi Okamoto, appeared in many radio and TV programs as a pioneer TV celebrity with a rakugo background, earning him nationwide popularity and the nickname "The man who raises viewership by 5 percentage points."

He emphasized classic rakugo stories passed down from four top storytellers who led the kamigata rakugo world in the post-World War II period, including his master Shokaku. He continued to give rakugo performances even after turning 70.

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