Noted Rakugo Storyteller Yanagiya Kosanji Dies at 81

Society Culture

Tokyo, Oct. 10 (Jiji Press)--Noted rakugo storyteller Yanagiya Kosanji, a designated living national treasure, died of heart failure at his home in Tokyo on Thursday. He was 81.

Yanagiya, whose real name was Takezo Koriyama, drew popularity for his carefree manner of talking and outstanding storytelling techniques.

In 1959, he became a pupil of the fifth-generation Yanagiya Ko, a rakugo artist. In 1969, he was promoted to "shinuchi," the highest rank in the rakugo world, and received the stage name of the 10th-generation Yanagiya Kosanji.

Widely recognized as a leading performer of "Edo rakugo," which developed in the Tokyo area, Yanagiya received an education ministry award for art encouragement in 2004, the Medal with Purple Ribbon in 2005 and the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette in 2014. He became the third rakugo storyteller to be designated a living national treasure in 2014.

Yanagiya continued to take to the stage even though he suffered from the pains of rheumatism for many years. He was hospitalized for poor health in March-April this year but made a comeback to the stage in May. He performed his last show on Oct. 2.

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Jiji Press