Not Getting Lost in Translation

Diane will explain the basics of Rakugo and talk about the challenges of adapting Japanese stories for English-speaking audiences. How can the authenticity of the story be maintained? What are some of the problems that arise when translating humour? What process does she use for developing stories so that the humour is not lost in translation? What are some of the main points that need to be considered when performing for a mixed audience of children, adults, elderly folk, people with disabilities or non-native English speakers? Diane will share her experiences in overcoming these hurdles without compromising the humour.


Profile: Diane Kichijitsu

Diane Kichijitsu hails from Liverpool, England and is a popular stage performer of Rakugo, the Japanese traditional art of comic storytelling. She is also highly sought after for her prodigious skills as a balloon artist, performing in events and giving workshops all over the world.
Her deep knowledge of Japanese culture, extensive travel experiences as a globe-trotting backpacker, keen observations of cultural differences and humourous anecdotes of her surprising encounters in Japan form the basis of her hilarious Rakugo stories, as well as the numerous talks she delivers at schools, cultural exchange events and international study classes. She is a frequent guest on Japanese radio and television, and an occasional contributor to local and international newspapers and magazines. Diane also holds teaching licenses in ikebana – Japanese flower arrangement and sado – tea ceremony, as well as being a graduate in kitsuke, the art of dressing in kimono.
Watching Diane mesmerize an audience of children, entertain a roomful of dignitaries or elicit gales of laughter from the residents of a Japanese care home, armed with nothing more than a fan and a handkerchief for props and her mile-a-minute delivery in Osaka dialect, it is hard to imagine that she was a painfully shy child. Or that, having worked in London as a graphic designer, she would decide to set off on a journey that has taken her through more than forty countries.
Arriving in Japan in 1990 as part of her backpacking travels, she was introduced to the world of comic storytelling when she worked as a stage assistant for the late Katsura Shijaku, the renowned pioneer of Rakugo in English, and soon took up the art herself, performing a variety of works from well-loved classics to her own original stories.
In recognition of how far her international activities have helped build a bridge between Japanese and overseas cultures, she was presented with the Nakasone Yasuhiro Incentive Award by the Institute for International Policy Studies (IIPS) in June 2013.