Biography

Showko Showfukutei is a Japanese comedian, ventriloquist and Rakugo* performer based in Melbourne, Australia. She has lived and worked in London, Tokyo, Osaka, Singapore - and now Melbourne – performing at countless comedy clubs, arts & culture festivals, corporate functions and council events. A regular on the comedy circuit, she has performed alongside some of the biggest names in Australian comedy including Dave Hughes, Cal Wilson, Denise Scott, Judith Lucy, Claire Hooper and more.

*Rakugo is a traditional form of Japanese comedy storytelling with a history dating back 400 years.

 

Early Life
Showko was born and grew up in the vibrant, cosmopolitan city of Kobe in Japan, where she graduated from Kobe Yamate University with a degree in psychology. 

 

Career Path
Sparked by a childhood interest in puppets and ventriloquists, Showko found an unlikely career opportunity at a local police station where she taught traffic safety using a ventriloquist puppet (yes, really). After three years at the police station she decided to move to Canada to study English, where she immersed herself as much as she could (to the point of avoiding meeting other Japanese people!) so she could improve her English as quickly as possible. When lonely, Showko would listen to  the radio (in English, of course), which ultimately influenced her decision to train as a professional radio announcer when she returned to Japan.

 

Professional radio announcer 
Showko went to “Fame” announcing school in Osaka to train as a radio announcer, and just one year after graduating she was able to go professional, with regular programs at Radio Osaka, FM Uji, Yes FM and Beach Station FM.

 

Singapore
In 1998 she was offered an international work opportunity by Comme Pte Ltd and relocated to Singapore where she worked as a radio producer and presenter for Media Corp’s FM96.3. 

After a successful five years on radio, fate stepped in: Showko attended an event where she met Rakugo Master “Kakushow Showfukutei” and invited him to be a guest on her radio show. Her interest was triggered. Kakushow had adapted traditional Rakugo into his own style using handmade puppets, making it more visual and incorporating slapstick comedy. As soon as she saw how his performance could make anyone laugh regardless of age or language, Showko instinctively knew that this was what she wanted to pursue. She would quit her job and become a Rakugo performer!  

Becoming a Rakugo performer
Is it as easy as that? No. Rakugo is a very male dominated traditional art form, and only a person who can complete training for three years under a Rakugo Master will be accepted as a professional Rakugo performer (many people give up during this hard training period). 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 see if the person has the passion, desire and guts to be a Rakugo performer. In Showko’s case she went through the same ordeal, but her time to convince him was limited as Master Kakushow was moving to London to be a cultural ambassador for the Japanese government. Not one to give up, Showko left her life in Singapore including her boyfriend (spoiler alert: he later became her husband) and flew to London one day prior to Master Kakushow so she could be there to welcome him at Heathrow Airport. Needless to say, with this level of passion, desire and guts on display, Master Kakushow was convinced and finally accepted her as his protégé.

 

London
Showko trained as a Rakugo performer in London for four years under Master Kakushow. During her Rakugo training, Showko performed at Covent Garden, at numerous comedy clubs, and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Upon completion of the training, Master Kakushow bestowed upon her the 400 year old traditional name ‘Showko Showfuketei’ – Showko meaning ‘laughing child’ in Japanese, and Showfuketei being the name of her Rakugo ‘family’. 

Speaking of families, the Australian boyfriend who she left in Singapore followed her to London to support her. They were married in 2005 and she gave birth to a son at the Queen Charlotte and Chelsea hospital.

Professional Rakugo performer
Showko is one of only 1500 Rakugo performers working professionally, and is the only one to complete her protégé period outside Japan. Of these 1500, only a handful are women, and only one of these women lives overseas (hint: she currently lives in Melbourne, Australia). 
 
Like Master Kakushow before her, Showko has breathed new life into this traditional artform. Performed with a style that is uniquely her own, she combines it with a mix of modern stand-up comedy, puppetry and ventriloquism.

 

Osaka
With her Master and his family deciding to move back to Japan’s comedy Mecca Osaka - where the famous Kamigata school of Rakugo is based - Showko decided to follow with her own family. Surrounded and immersed in the traditional culture, Showko learnt the very strict Rakugo society manner of other Rakugo performers and Masters. She mainly performed at the Hanjyotei Rakugo Theatre in Tenjinbashi (Osaka), with occasional performances at other theatres, events and festivals around Japan.

 After two years in Osaka, the desire to further her career as an international performer was too strong, and she moved with her family to Singapore

Singapore Pt 2
Showko concentrated on performing in English again, and made her return to Singapore’s radio airwaves, once again hosting a regular program at FM 96.3 radio station. She also hosted inflight radio programs for Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, and Lufthansa, and made regular trips to Japan to work and to keep her bond with the Rakugo society and other performers. 

However, another city was beckoning...

 

Melbourne
What better place for a comedian than a city that plays host to one of the biggest comedy festivals in the world? All throughout the year Melbourne has a big, vibrant, supportive comedy scene, and holds a huge number of comedy, arts and cultural festivals and events - a great place for a comedian to plant themselves.

For a year anyway. 
 
Tokyo
Another move for this globetrotter – this time to Tokyo when the opportunity arose to work and to perform with legendary and innovative Rakugo Masters.  
 
Melbourne Pt 2
And finally, back to Melbourne to plant some roots (there is good comedy soil). Showko was quickly spotted by talent scouts for the Princess Cruise lines and became a regular performer on their cruises. She also came to the attention of talent scouts for Australia’s Got Talent, and ended up as a finalist. 

Showko has gone on to become a regular on the Australian festival circuit and a popular feature of the live comedy scene. She is much in demand for corporate, council, and government events as a comedian/ventriloquist, and also as a host who provides a unique and lively twist. 

Career

 Festivals & Events

• Adelaide Fringe Festival, Australia

• Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Australia

• Edinburgh Fringe Festival, UK

• Brighton Fringe Festival, UK

• Wellington Festival, NZ

• Christchurch  Festival, NZ

• Bondi Feast, Sydney

• Hamburg and Osaka Sister city Festival, Germany

• Avignon Festival, France

• Paris Club, France

• Malaysian Arts Festival

• Philippines Japan Festival

• Visit Japan Campaign LA, Beverly Hills Hilton, USA

• Embassy of Japan, UK

• Embassy of Japan, Tonga

• Japan Foundation, Sydney

• Japanese Association of Singapore

and more...

 

Corporate Functions

• P&G

• Sumitomo Life

• CANON Europe

• MARUBENI Europe

• Mitsui UK & BP

• Miki Corporation

• Japanese Teachers Association of Victoria

and more…

 

Cruise Shows

• Princess Cruise

• Holland America

• Cunard

 

Television

• ABC TV "International Women's Day Debate"

• Australia's Got Talent finalist

• Yomiuri TV “Good Chikyu bin” featuring Showko

• NHK "Kazokuni Kampai"

• TV Tokyo "Celebrity Special"

• Channel News Asia: “Primtime Morning”

• TBS: “ minomonta no asa zubba!”

• Nagoya TV

• Kyoto TV

 

Radio

• MediaCorp Radio, Singapore FM96.3 Roles: Full Time Bilingual Radio Producer Presenter - 10 regular programs over 5 years

• ABC National Radio in "International Womens Day debate"

• ABC National Radio "In conversation with John Faine" (guest)

• SBS National Radio in Australia (guest)

• 3RRR Radio in Melbourne (guest)


RADIO Regular Programs in Japan 

• MBS, Radio Osaka, FM Uji,Yes FM, FM Beach Station

 

In-Flight Entertainment

• Singapore Airlines

• Cathay Pacific

• Lufthansa

 

Commercials & Narration

• BMW

• Disney

• Discovery Channel, Animal Planet

• Daimaru

and more...

笑福亭笑子(しょうふくてい しょうこ)

神戸市出身

上方落語協会所属

2004 笑福亭鶴笑入門。海外を拠点にして活動する唯一の落

語家。落語家修行は異例のロンドンにて。

大学卒業後は、 警察にて腹話術を使った交通安全指導の仕事に携わる。後1年間カナダで語学留学。帰国後はアナウンススクールに通い、卒業後は関西を中心にラジオのレギュラー番組を持ち、テレビでの司会などフリーアナウンサーとして活動。 

1998年、シンガポールの国営放送局メディコープで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、その時に師匠、笑福亭鶴笑のパペット落語に出会う。弟子入りを志願するが断られ、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、弟子入り。ロンドンで4年

間修行を積み、その後大阪で落語家のしきたりを学ぶ。

 

難関テレビオーディション「オーストラリアズゴットタレント」では準決勝進出するなど、現地メディアにも多数出演し、老若男女国籍を問わない芸で世界を舞台に活動中。

 

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、メルボルン在 住。パペット落語、腹話術で世界を回る。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」

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」

NHK 「鶴瓶の家族に乾杯」

テレビ東京「世界ナゼそこ日本人~海外で超有名人スペシャル」

 

【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

エジンバラフリンジフェスティバル

アデレードフリンジフェスティバル

ブライトンフリンジフェスティバル

メルボルンフリンジフェスティバル

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

ボンダイフィーストシドニー

英国日本大使館

シドニー国際交流基金

パリクラブ

シンガポール日本人会

トンガ日本大使館

 

【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