ARCHIVED Yuriko Kotani with Till Weingärtner - The Making of a Japanese Stand-Up in the UK
Tuesday 26 May 2020
6.00pm - 7.00pm (BST)
Free – Donations Welcome
The activities of the Japan Society are made possible thanks to the support of its members. This event is free of charge and open to all. We realise that this is a difficult time for many people. However, if you are planning to attend, and are able to consider becoming a member or making a donation, it would be hugely appreciated.
The Japan Society are pleased to welcome comedian Yuriko Kotani in conversation with Till Weingärtner as they discuss Yuriko’s experiences as a Japanese comedian in the UK comedy scene.
When she arrived in London in 2004, Yuriko Kotani neither planned to stay, nor to venture into the dangerous world of stand-up comedy. Watching her act, it is apparent that she has a keen sense of the absurdities of cultural difference; she is able to home in unerringly on the little things that seem so obvious to one group of people, but alien to others. So what prompted her to share her observations on stage, and what is it about the UK stand-up scene that attracted her? How does her brand of dead pan comedy go down in Japan, where manzai double acts are so popular? And what do British audiences make of a Japanese woman poking fun at their cultural norms?
Join us for this special online event, where following discussion will be a Q&A session with the audience.
Yuriko Kotani is a UK-based stand-up comedian, originally from Japan. She began performing stand-up in 2014 and has appeared on both TV and Radio, including Russell Howard’s Stand Up Central, CBBC’s The Dog Ate My Homework, BBC Three’s Pls Like, The Comedy Club on BBC Radio 4 Extra, BBC World Service's The Arts Hour International New Year Comedy Celebration, The Verb on BBC Radio 3 and Loose Ends on BBC Radio 4. Most recently, Yuriko had the pleasure of introducing Paul Hollywood to the many flavours of the KitKat on Paul Hollywood Eats Japan, first broadcast Tuesday 12 May 2020, Channel 4.
In 2015, Yuriko was named ‘One to Watch’ by Time Out, became the only Japanese recipient of the BBC New Comedy Award and also won the Brighton Comedy Festival Squawker Award. She took her own show Somosomo to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2019, and to Japan in January 2020. She will also be familiar to many UK rugby fans through her series of infomercials made for the British Embassy in Tokyo at the time of the 2019 World Cup.
Till Weingärtner is lecturer in contemporary East Asian Studies and director of the Centre for Advanced Studies in Languages and Cultures (CASiLaC) at University College Cork. He holds his M.A. and PhD in Japanese Studies, both from Freie Universität Berlin. Since his student days his research has primarily focused on Japanese comedy. During his postgraduate research on Japanese comedy at Kansai University (Osaka) he tried his hand at stand-up comedy even winning an award and hosting a local radio show with his Japanese comedy partner. These experiences in the Japanese entertainment industry had a big impact on his research interests and he remains interested in performance, not only from an academic position but also by organising performances for Japanese artists as well as at times still performing himself in Japanese, German and English.
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