Shakespeare may be nations and centuries away, but “all the world’s a stage” has never been a more apt sentiment.
Has there ever been a series with as much unabashed love for performers and performance as this one? From the many rakugo stories to the bursts of shamisen music to this week’s low-budget kabuki play, Showa Genroku depicts Japan’s classic performance arts with a careful attention to detail and a fierce respect for the mediums.
Yet the series never lets itself slip into rose-colored nostalgia; rather, like the rakugo-ka who preserve the tales of Edo (and therefore its lost world and the flawed people who lived in it), Showa Genroku seeks to capture with the same blend of affection and honesty a time, place, and people who no longer exist. And it accomplishes this the same way humanity so often has: Through the telling of stories.