All Nippon Airways, in cooperation with Japan Foundation, Manila, hosted ANA Yose 2017 on February 19, 2017 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, Makati City. The event, with the tagline “Rakugo in English,” was intended to promote the Japanese culture to the Filipino audience and featured performances by Rakugo Masters Kaishi Katsura and Asakichi Katsura, Shamisen artist Eika Utsumi, and traditional comic performer Lucky Mai.
Rakugo is a Japanese traditional storytelling art that can trace its roots to more than four centuries ago and still enjoys wide popularity to this day. The Rakugo artist sits on a cushion and, using only a Japanese fan (sensu) and a hand towel (tenugui) as props, reenacts well-loved stories by playing out different characters.
The program opened with short messages from Mr. Akihiro Hosoya, General Manager of ANA Manila, Mr. Hiroaki Uesugi, Director of Japan Foundation Manila, and Mr. Atsushi Ueno, Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Japan in Manila.
The first performer, Eika Utsumi, rendered a few songs on the Shamisen, a traditional Japanese instrument with only three strings. She endeared herself to the local audience by performing the popular Filipino song “Dahil Sa’yo.”
Rakugo Master Asakichi Katsura took to the stage next and played the Japanese flute or fue before narrating the legend of Momotaro Rakugo-style.
After a brief intermission, Lucky Mai showed breath-taking and heart-stopping daikagura or traditional clowning tricks involving ceramic bowls, an umbrella, and knives. A lucky audience member also had a chance to test his juggling skills with Lucky Mai’s encouragement.
For the final act, Rakugo Master Kaishi Katsura, appointed as Cultural Ambassador by the Agency of Cultural Affairs of Japan in 2007, drew the audience in with his story about a rickshaw driver and his passenger, earning him a lot of laughs and a loud round of applause.
After the show, the performers spent some time with the audience members for photos and autographs.
The show in Manila was the first of three performances in the Philippines, with the other two held in Davao and Cebu respectively.
ANA has sponsored Yose in Manila for the past 4 years and 2017 marked the first year the show was performed in English. ANA aims to continue to implement various initiatives to promote the culture and heritage of Japan, as a bridge between Japan and the rest of the world.
ANA Group operates Japan’s only 5-star rated airline with Japan’s largest domestic network and an expanding network of international routes. Founded in 1952, ANA flies today on 87 international routes and 114 domestic routes. The ANA group has 35,000 employees and a fleet of about 260 aircraft. ANA has been a member of Star Alliance since 1999, and its Frequent Flyer Program, ANA Mileage Club, has more than 26 million members. ANA was voted Airline of the Year for 2013 by Air Transport World Magazine, and in 2016 was awarded five stars for the fourth consecutive year by the world’s leading Airline and Airport review site, SKYTRAX. ANA is the launch customer and biggest operator of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.