Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju

This multi-generational epic dives deep into rakugo, a rich form of Japanese storytelling theater. Small-time crook Yotaro has never forgotten the rakugo tale "The God of Death," which the master Yurakutei Yakumo performed for Yotaro during his time in prison. After his release, he goes to Yakumo's theater and pleads to be made his apprentice. Yakumo reluctantly accepts, but Yotaro quickly finds the world of rakugo is complex and grapples with a growing bond with Yakumo's ward, Konatsu. Meanwhile, the two young people bring reminders of Yakumo’s own inescapable past.

Descending Stories received an anime adaption by Studio DEEN that streamed on Crunchyroll in winter 2016. A surprise fan and critical favorite, it has been renewed for a second season airing in January 2017. The manga ran in Kodansha’s ITAN magazine from 2010-2016 and completed at 10 volumes in June. Localization of Descending Stories is supervised by the Rakugo Kyokai Association, the official guardian of the classic art form.

By Haruko Kumota

Ages: 13+