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Art & Sake: Yasugi Bushi - the Fish Catching Dance, and Rakugo - Traditional Storytelling 

February 23rd, 2023

Art & Sake Event


February 23rd, 4:30 pm - 8:00 pm

The Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix invites you to join us for our third Art & Sake event, where we will be showcasing the rich cultural heritage of Japan through a combination of traditional art and delicious Japanese sake varieties. This event is a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in an exciting evening of traditional Japanese theater filled with excitement, laughter, and sake! 

You will have the opportunity to witness the traditional Dojō Sukui dance, also known as Loach Catching Dance, which originated from Shimane, Japan. The performance features a farmer in traditional costume trying to catch a slippery fish, with the fish playfully splashing mud and water onto the farmer's face. The dance will be performed by Mr. Naoto Abe from Hiroshima Shudo University. 

In addition, we will also be featuring Rakugo, a form of verbal entertainment (落語, literally "fallen words") that originated in Japan. The storyteller sits on stage, using only a paper fan (扇子 sensu) and a small cloth (手拭 tenugui)  as props, and tells a long and complicated comedic story without standing up from the seiza style sitting position. We are honored to have Ms. Kanariya Peako, Ms. Kanariya Aimu, and Ms. Kanariya Zakuro fly in from Japan to perform for this event. 

Despite the evening's theater performances originating from Japan and focusing on Japanese stories, the performances have been adapted and translated to work for Western audiences, so Japanese language skills are not required to fully enjoy the production. 

Our RoHoEn market will also be serving a variety of authentic Japanese sake, Japanese beer, and Jelly sake during the performance, providing the perfect pairing to enhance your enjoyment of this cultural experience.


We look forward to seeing you at the garden soon! 

General $30

Member $25

Garden Admission is included with your purchase, so please enjoy our garden before or after the performance.


Meet the Performers


Mr. Naoto Abe  

Naoto has been performing Yasugi-Bushi since he was an elementary school student. In his hometown, he had many opportunities to experience local traditional performing arts from an early age. He was won many awards and is labeled as a top Sukui performer in Japan. He has performed in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Nara, Kyoto, and Kagawa. He hopes to introduce Yasugi-bushi to the world, and hopes that you can witness him catch that slippery loach! 

Kanariya Peako 

Peako has been performing English Rakugo in Japan and abroad for seven years, and has 14 different stories to tell. She has toured California, Denmark and Kazakhstan, and drawn the audience to the humorous world of rakugo. She loves rakugo because people in the stories are lovable and charming despite some of the negative aspects of human nature such as stupidity, meanness, greediness, and forgetfulness. Her favorite stories include Refreshment Bag (Kan-nin Bukuro), Matsuyama Mirror (Matsuyama Kagami),  Make Your Choice as You Like It (Omitate) and The God of Death (Shinigami). She is a full member of the English Rakugo Association based in Tokyo.  


Kanariya Aimu 

Aimu has been performing English rakugo in Japan and abroad for seven years and has 14 stories to tell. She has toured Denmark and Arizona.  She started to learn English rakugo because she wanted to introduce Japanese culture and amuse many people in the world with rakugo. Her favorite stories include The Judgement of Tengu  (Tengu Sabaki), Prohibition Gate (Kinsyu Banya), The Wallet (Kami-ire) and The Dogs Eyes (Inu no Me).  She is a full member of the English Rakugo Association based in Tokyo.  

Kanariya Zakuro 

Having spent some time overseas during her childhood, Zakuro’s dream has been to become a bridge between Japan and other countries. She started practicing rakugo in 2019, hoping to perform for people visiting Japan for the Olympics in the following year. Her early years as a rakugo performer did not turn out to be what she had expected due to COVID; however, she is excited to start having opportunities to perform in the “new normal” environment. This is her first overseas rakugo show and she is delighted to perform in the United States where she went to university. Her favorite stories are Chiritotechin, A Pot of Poison (Busu), and The Wallet (Kami-ire). She is a full member of the English Rakugo Association based in Tokyo.  

Event Schedule

4:30 pm: Gates Open

Guests can enjoy the garden, or purchase snacks and drinks before the performance.

5:30 pm: Yasugi Bushi (Loach Catching Dance) 

5:45 pm: Rakugo Commentary 

5:55 pm: Rakugo “Matsuyama Kagami” (Matsuyama Mirror) by Ms. Peako


6:10 pm: Rakugo “Chiritotechin”  by Ms. Zakuro


6:25 pm: Intermission

Guests can enjoy the garden, or purchase snacks and drinks before the next performance. 

6:50 pm: Dojō Sukui (Loach Catching Dance) 

7:00 pm: Rakugo “Tameshi Zake” by Ms. Aimu 

7:15 pm: Tamasudare by Ms. Peako 

7:20 pm: Performances End 

8:00 pm: Gates Closed 

We hope to see you at our Art & Sake Event February 23rd, 2023!
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