Currently starring in his solo show playing at New World Stages with new stories and themes every month, Katsura Sunshine’s Rakugo opened September 2019 to rave reviews with critics calling him “Master Storyteller” (New York Times); “Entertaining… with a heavy dose of self-deprecation! There is only one Katsura Sunshine!” (New Yorker); and “Katsura Sunshine’s Rakugo is charming, thoughtful, and is guaranteed to bring a bit of sparkle” (Broadway World). The show has been extended into 2020 with plans to run for a yearlong engagement.
Katsura Sunshine was born in Toronto, Ontario to parents of Slovenian origin. He studied Classics at the University of Toronto, specializing in Ancient Greek theatre. In September 1995, his version of Aristophanes’ “Clouds” opened at the Poor Alex Theatre in Toronto and ran for 15 months before embarking on a tour of central and eastern Canada. Sunshine went to Japan in 1999 to pursue studies in Japanese theatre.
On September 1st, 2008, he was accepted as an apprentice to the great Rakugo storytelling Master, Katsura Bunshi VI (then named Katsura Sanshi), and he received from this Master the Rakugo name “Katsura Sunshine”.
Sunshine is the first-ever Western Rakugo storyteller in the history of the “Kamigata” Rakugo tradition, based in Osaka, and only the second-ever in the history of Japan.
He has performed in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Australia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Thailand, Nepal, Ghana, Senegal, Gabon, South Africa, as well as throughout Japan. He had both his West End debut at the Leicester Square Theatre and his Off-Broadway debut at the SoHo Playhouse for three weeks each in 2017.
In 2019, Sunshine was part of the successful bid of the city of Osaka for the 2025 World Fair, for which he traveled to Paris to present Japanese culture, as well as featuring in a video that was played on the final voting day. He received praise from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for this work, particularly for the video presentation.
Also in 2019, Sunshine was chosen to be Master of Ceremonies at the opening reception of the G-20 Summit in Osaka.
Sunshine currently divides his time between New York and Tokyo.