The Japanese National Honors Society presented two unique entertainers in late May at the Nichols Hall auditorium. The first was Nuyoku-ya Sento (also known by his real name, Tsuyoshi Minamoto), a former Jazz singer who currently lives and performs in New York. Sento used his finely-tuned voice and ukulele to take the audience on a globe-hopping musical journey. Singing songs in English, Brazilian, French, Italian, Korean and his native Japanese, he segued between each tune with a series of amusing jokes.
Next up was Tokyo’s Sanyutei Kyouraku, a performer in the centuries-old art of rakugo, which features a lone storyteller who spins various yarns by inhabiting the roles of every character in the story. Despite the language barrier, the audience was able to follow the story thanks to the English translation projected onto the stage. Kyouraku kept the audience fascinated with his convincing impersonations of everything from doctors and children to dogs and cockroaches. The highlight was a multi-faceted, heart-warming tale about the triumph of the human spirit during the aftermath of the 1995 Kobe earthquake.