BIO

Showko Showfukutei is a Japanese comedian, ventriloquist and Japanese Rakugo (traditional comedy) performer. She has lived and worked internationally in London, Tokyo, Osaka, Singapore and Melbourne and has performed at major comedy clubs, festivals and events. Her real name is Ayako Ono but the stage name Showko Showfukutei was awarded to her after completing a 3 year Rakugo apprenticeship. Rakugo is a 400 year old traditional form of Japanese comedy storytelling.

 

Early Life

Showko was born and grew up in Kobe, Japan which was a very vibrant, cosmopolitan city at the time and graduated from Kobe Yamate Women’s College with a degree in psychology.

 

Career Path

Being interested in puppets and ventriloquists she found a career opportunity at the Police Station to teach traffic safety using a ventriloquist puppet. It was the first time she used a ventriloquist puppet and started doing ventriloquism.

After working for three years at the Police Station she decided to live in Canada for one year to study English. During her stay in Canada she tried to avoid meeting any other Japanese so she could improve her English by being fully immersed in it. When she was lonely she would often listen to the radio in English which ultimately influenced her decision to be a professional radio announcer upon her return to Japan.

 

Professional announcer 

She went to “Fame” announce school in Osaka to become a professional announcer and just one year after graduating had regular programs at Radio Osaka, FM Uji, Yes FM and Beach Station FM in Japan.

 

Singapore

In 1998 she was offered an international work opportunity and decided to move by herself to Singapore to work at Comm Pte.Ltd as a Radio Producer and Presenter for FM96.3 at Media Corp running regular live programs. 

After a successful five years she met her future Rakugo Master “Kakushow Showfukutei” at an event and had him as a guest on her radio show. Kakushow had adapted traditional Rakugo into his own style to be more visual and slapstick and used handmade puppets as part of his show.

 

Seeing how his performance could make anyone laugh regardless of age or language she instinctively knew this was what she wanted to pursue and decided to quit being a radio producer and presenter to become a Rakugo performer. To be a professional Rakugo performer you have to ask a Rakugo master to become his protégé. Usually the master will say “No” ten times to check their passion, desire and guts to see if they really want to be a Rakugo performer.

 

In her case she went through the same ordeal but her time to convince him was limited as Master Kakushow then moved to London as a cultural ambassador sent by the Japanese Government. Not one to give up she left her boyfriend (who later became her future husband), everything in Singapore and flew to London one day before Master Kakushow arrived and welcomed him at Heathrow Airport. Master Kakushow finally approved and accepted her as his protégé as he could see she was serious about being a Rakugo performer.

 

London

Showko trained as a Rakugo performer under Master Kakushow for four years in London and is still the only Rakugo performer to complete her protégé period outside of Japan. During her Rakugo training she also performed at many comedy clubs in London, Covent Garden and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Her style of Rakugo is combined with stand-up comedy and ventriloquism 

 

Rakugo is a very male dominated traditional art form and only a person who can complete training for 3 years can be accepted as a Professional Rakugo performer with many people giving up during the hard training period. She trained with him in London, receiving the 400 year old traditional name Showko Shofukutei upon completion. She is one of 1500 Rakugo performers, only a handful of women and the only one living overseas.

 

Later her Australian boyfriend that she left in Singapore followed to support her. They got married in 2005 and she gave birth to a son at the Queen Charlotte and Chelsea hospital in London.

 

Osaka

As her Master and his family decided to move back to Japan’s comedy’s mecca Osaka where the Kamigata school of Rakugo is from, she also decided to follow them and moved to Osaka with her family.

Surrounded and immersed in the traditional culture Showko learnt the very strict Rakugo society manner amongst other Rakugo performers and Masters and mainly performed at the Hanjyotei Rakugo Theatre in Tenjinbashi, Osaka as well as other theatres, events and festivals around Japan. As she was so busy and followed the Japanese Rakugo society, she hardly ever came home early and left her non Japanese speaking husband and 2 years old son home. After two years she decided to move to Singapore as a performer and a better family life.

 

Singapore

Showko concentrated on performing in English again and performed in Singapore and other countries as well as hosting a regular program at FM 96.3 radio station and the Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific inflight radio programs. She regularly went back to Japan to work and to keep her bond with the other Rakugo performers and the Rakugo society.

 

Melbourne

Showko decided to move to Melbourne which has a big comedy scene and hosts major Comedy, Arts and Cultural festivals as well as being a good environment to live for her family.

 

Tokyo

After living Melbourne for one year she took the opportunity to move to Tokyo for one year to experience

 

Melbourne

She is now based in Melbourne with her husband and son, performing internationally mainly as a Stand-up Comedian and Ventriloquist occasionally as a Rakugo Performer. Showko is the only fully trained professional Rakugo performer living outside of Japan.

 

Career:

 

Festivals & Events

• Avignon Festival, France

• Melbourne International Comedy Festival

• Edinburgh Fringe Festival

• Brighton Fringe Festival

• Wellington Japan Festival

• Hamburg and Osaka Sister city Festival

• Malaysian Arts Festival

• Philippines Japan Festival

• Visit Japan Campaign LA, Beverly Hills Hilton and more…

• Embassy of Japan,UK

• Japan Foundation Sydney

 

Corporate Functions

• P&G

• CANON Europe

• MARUBENI Europe

• Mitsui UK & BP

• Miki Corporation and more…

 

Cruise Shows

• Princess Cruise

• Holland America

• Cunard

 

Television

• ABC TV "International Women's Day Debate"

• Australia's Got Talent 2016 finalist

• Yomiuri TV “Good Chikyu bin” featuring Showko

• Channel News Asia: “Primtime Morning”

• TBS: “ minomonta no asa zubba!”

• Nagoya TV

• Kyoto TV

 

Radio

ABC Radio in Australia

SBS Radio in Australia

MBS Radio in Japan

Radio Osaka in Japan

2010 - 2011 Radio regular program on MediaCorp FM 96.3 (Showko`s Quirky News!) 

1998 – 2002 MediaCorp Radio, Singapore FM96.3   Roles: Full Time Bilingual Radio Producer Presenter


RADIO Regular Programs in Japan 

1995 – 1998 (MBS, Radio Osaka, FM Uji,Yes FM, FM Beach Station) 

兵庫県警にて腹話術を使った交通安全指導の仕事に携わったのが腹 話術をはじめるきっ かけとなった。のち、1年間カナダで語学留学 し、留学中寂しい時にいつも聴いていた ラジオに影響を受け、帰 国後はアナウンススクールに通いフリーアナウンサーとして、 関 西を中心に、ラジオ大阪、FM宇治など各局でラジオアナウン サー、司会を務める。 1998年、シンガポールの国営放送局メディ コープでバイリンガル局アナウンサーとして就 職するためシンガ ポールに単身で移住。5年間勤め、そのときに師匠、笑福亭鶴笑の パ ペット落語に出会う。老若男女国籍を問わない芸に感動し、弟 子入りを志願。何もかも 捨てて、ロンドンに移住する師匠より1日 先回りをし師匠をヒースロー空港で迎えやる気をかわれ、2004年3 月、弟子入り。コメディーのメッカ、ロンドンでの4年 間の修行中 は、イギリス中の学校、病院、施設、ストリート、コメ ディーク ラブ、劇場など幅広く活動し芸を磨くことに専念。その後は大阪に 戻り2年 間、上方落語の伝統的な噺家のしきたり、古典落語を改めて勉強し、上方落語の定席天 満天神繁昌亭など、日本を中心に活 動。その後はまたシンガポールに移住し、テレビ、 ラジオ、シン ガポール航空機内番組などを務め、日本文化を紹介するイベント、 英語で の落語、腹話術に力を入れる。現在は、オーストラリア人 の夫と息子とメルボルン在 住。パペット落語、腹話術落語、スタ ンダップ落語で私落語でオーストラリアを中心に世界を回る。笑芸 一筋、精力的に活動中。

主な経歴

【企業講演】
P&G  住友生命  丸紅ヨーロッパ 三井 UK BP  Miki Corporation  ビクトリア州日本語教師会 など

 

【テレビ】
オーストラリア国営放送ABCテレビ「国際女性デー」
チャンネル9 「オーストラリアゴットタレント2016準決勝」
読売テレビ 「グッと地球便」
読売テレビ「24時間テレビ 愛は地球を救う1996~98年」
TBS 「みのもんたの朝ズバッ」
名古屋テレビ 「シンガポール観光」
チャンネルニュースアジア 「プライムタイムモーニング」
フェスティバル&イベント
フランス アビニヨンフェスティバル
メルボルンインターナショナルコメディーフェスティバル
エジンバラフェスティバル
ブライトンフェスティバル
ハンブルグ 大阪市 姉妹都市フェスティバル
ホワイトホースシティー 松戸市 姉妹都市フェスティバル
ウェリントン日本フェスティバル
クライストチャーチ日本フェステバル
フィリッピン日本フェスティバル
マレーシアアートフェスティバル
ビバリーヒルズ ロサンジェルス ビジットジャパンキャンペーン
英国日本大使館
シドニー国際交流基金
【ラジオ】
シンガポール国営放送局FM96.3
毎日放送ラジオ
ラジオ大阪
オーストラリア国営ABCラジオ
SBSラジオ 他多数

 

 【機内番組】

シンガポール航空 機内番組
ルフトハンザ航空 機内番組
キャセパシフィック航空 機内番組
【CM & ナレーション】
BMW/ディズニー/大丸/ディスカバリーチャンネル/アニマル プラネット他多数
豪華客船
クィーンメリー、クナード
プリンセスクルーズ
オランダアメリカライン