Home > Japanese Culture > Stages will be consumed by its music -Wakanagi- Vol.1

Stages will be consumed by its music -Wakanagi- Vol.1


Mil Máscaras, a professional wrestler, has his theme music “Sky High” in his entering ring. Darth Vader always frightens the Galactic Empire officers with his theme music. You can easily remember his face when you listen to the theme song of Jason, the terribly big man with a hockey mask from the movie “Friday the 13th”. Famous characters in the varied fields have their own theme music that easily reminds you of them. So, do RAKUGO performers.

RAKUGO performers have their theme music in their entering stage, which are many kind pieces of Japanese traditional music collectively dubbed debayashi in Japanese. Generally,Japanese traditional musical instruments like shamisen(three-stringed Japanese musical instrument), taiko(Japanese percussion instrument),shinobue(Japanese transverse flute), etc. are used in playing debayashi. Since performing debayashi needs several musicians, it’s quite difficult for RAKUGO performers, excluding certain professional ones, to sit on stages with live debayashi music. For me, it was also very rare to get a chance to enter up a stage with live debayashi music. However, one non-profit organization gave me the chance. The name of the organization is Wakanagi.

Wakanagi(wa stems from the kanji 和 with one of the meanings Japanese traditional style. kana comes from 奏, means playing(musical instruments). gi 伎 is originated from skill, technique, or art.) is a group of the teachers and learners who want to polish up their playing skills of Japanese traditional musical instruments. The object of the organization is to take over traditional skills to the next generation and to provide better environment for the members to have chances to enjoy playing music.

I’d like to post series of articles about one of Wakanagi‘s activities, debayashi.

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