Thursday | October 19, 2017
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Rakugo, popular form of Japanese theater, at libraries

The ensemble Bento Rakugo will be a featured performer for “Dig into Reading,” the 2013 HSPLS Children’s Summer Reading Program, at 11 selected public libraries on the Big Island, Lanai, Molokai and Oahu through July 17. Admission is free.

Bento Rakugo, a dynamic group led by artistic director Yasu Ishida, will perform in the traditional Rakugo (Japanese translation: “fallen words”) storytelling style with a modern twist to the Japanese comedy.

Rakugo is one of the most popular forms of Japanese theater, with a tradition spanning more than 300 years. In Rakugo, the performer presents a comic story while sitting on a Japanese cushion throughout the entire performance, speaking all of the voices in both the first person and third person. All stories will be spoken in English.

Experience four Rakugo traditional-style Japanese storytelling sessions with Bento Rakugo on the Big Island on Wednesday, June 26, at 10 a.m. at the Mountain View Public Library (968-2322) and at 3:30 p.m. at the Kailua-Kona Public Library (327-4327), and on Wednesday, July 17, at 10 a.m. at the Keaau Public & School Library 982-4281) and at 2 p.m. at the Naalehu Public Library (939-2442).

If a sign language interpreter or other special accommodation is needed, please contact the hosting library as soon as possible. “Dig into Reading” is this year’s program theme, which will encourage young readers to explore all things underground including dinosaurs, construction vehicles, animals that live underground, Ancient Egypt, caves and rocks.

The 2013 Summer Reading Programs are sponsored through a generous grant from the Friends of the Library of Hawaii (FLH), Atherton Family Foundation, Kraft Foods Group in Hawaii, Longs Drugs/CVS Caremark, Hawaii State Federal Credit Union, HEI Charitable Foundation, Newman’s Own Foundation, Meadow Gold Dairies, HMS Host, Hansen Distribution Group, Armstrong Produce, DFS Hawaii, Roberts Hawaii, Toshiba Business Solutions, The Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, National Football League Charities, Aloha United Way, and local Friends Chapters.

Corporate sponsors include McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii, Hawaii Pizza Hut, Frito-Lay of Hawaii, First Insurance Company of Hawaii, The Islander Group, Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, Vacations Hawaii, Fukuda Seed Store, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Conservation Council for Hawaii, State Dept. of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife, DuPont Pioneer, the NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Region, Price Busters and GBC Boxes & Packaging. USB Drives were provided by Hawaii’s Access for All Grant through the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and leveraged with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Opportunity Online funds; matching funds were provided by the Friends of the Library of Hawaii, the Omidyar Ohana Fund through the Hawaii Community Foundation, and Alexander & Baldwin Foundation. Performances featuring artists from the Statewide Cultural Extension Program are co-sponsored by the University of Hawaii’s Outreach College, Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

For more information about the Bento Rakugo program, please call the hosting library. For further information about the 2013 HSPLS Summer Reading Programs, visit the HSPLS website:, like us at, follow us on, or call your local library.


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