Diane Kichijitsu hails from Liverpool, England and is a popular stage performer of Rakugo, the Japanese traditional art of comic storytelling. She is also highly sought after for her prodigious skills as a balloon artist, performing in events and giving workshops all over the world.

Her deep knowledge of Japanese culture, extensive travel experiences as a globe-trotting backpacker, keen observations of cultural differences and humourous anecdotes of her surprising encounters in Japan form the basis of her hilarious Rakugo stories. As well as the numerous talks she delivers at schools, cultural exchange events and international study classes, she is a frequent guest on Japanese radio and television, and an occasional contributor to local and international newspapers and magazines. Diane also holds teaching licences in ikebana - Japanese flower arrangement and sado - tea ceremony, as well as being a graduate in kitsuke, the art of dressing in kimono.

Watching Diane mesmerize an audience of children, entertain a roomful of dignitaries or elicit gales of laughter from the residents of a Japanese care home, armed with nothing more than a fan and a handkerchief for props and her mile-a-minute delivery in Osaka dialect, it is hard to imagine that she was a painfully shy child. Or that, having worked in London as a graphic designer, she would decide to set off on a journey that has taken her through more than forty countries.

Arriving in Japan in 1990 as part of her backpacking travels, she was introduced to the world of comic storytelling when she worked as a stage assistant for the late Katsura Shijaku, the renowned pioneer of Rakugo in English, and soon took up the art herself, performing a variety of works from well-loved classics to her own original stories.

In recognition of how far her international activities have helped build a bridge between Japanese and overseas cultures, she was presented with the Nakasone Yasuhiro Incentive Award by the Institute for International Policy Studies (IIPS) in June 2013.


2021  Tokyo Shoseki 'NEW HORIZON 1' 

2020  Tokyo Shoseki 'NEW HORIZON Elementary 5'

          Monthly magazine 'Keidanren'

          Online seminar at Multilingual Localization Forum sponsored by Tokyo metropolitan government office

2019  Rakugo & Balloon show in Izu-Oshima

          Rakugo at 'Hajimaru Marunouchi Stage' in Tokyo

          North One Television, UK

          Discover Kansai by Train video 'Destination Osaka, Arashiyama, Uji-Fushimi, Koyasan'

          Manabi Japan

2018  Rakugo at Kobe Shinkaichi Kirakukan

          Poplar Publishing

          Rakugo on international cruise ships

 2017  Rakugo in Honk Kong

          Rakugo in India

          Mont-bell Friend Fair

          'Hotel Review', the public-relations magazine of Japan Hotel Association

          'The Big Issue Japan'

          Iwanami Jr. Shinsho

2016   Rakugo in Thailand & Vietnam
           Became Laughter Ambassador - India
           Rakugo in India & Singapore
           Fuji TV - 'Mina no News'
           Rakugo & Laughter Yoga in Liverpool, UK
           Rakugo in Kuala Lumpur & Johor Bahru, Malaysia
           Rakugo & seminar in Taiwan
           Rakugo at the Japan Day Festival. Liverpool, UK
           Rakugo at Tokyo Grand Tea Ceremony 2016
           Guest appearance FM Amagasaki Radi-

2015   MBS Radio 'Komori Yasunori's Asakara Tenkomori!'  

           Rakugo in Las Vegas

           Rakugo tour in Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro & Turkey

           Rakugo on International cruise ships

           Rakugo & workshops in Bulgaria

           Rakugo & Talk in Durham, England

           European Rakugo Tour - Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Hungary, Germany,                      Switzerland, Holland
           Rakugo & Talk in Belgium
           Rakugo Tour in Turkey - Istanbul, Ankara, Denizli (15 shows)

2014  Rakugo & workshops in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates 

          Rakugo in Liverpool, England

          Nihon TV - 'Sekai Marumie! TV Tokusobu'

          TBS TV - ‘Tokoro-san no Nippon no Deban!’

          Rakugo in the USA – San Francisco, Los Angeles, Colorado & Honolulu (8 performances)

           Global Innovation Conference ‘Hack Osaka 2014’  - MC

           Epoch Times. Jan 2014


           Asahi Shimbun Digital - 'Shukatsu Asahi'. Jan 2014

           Monthly magazine 'Budo' Jan 2014

           Monthly magazine 'Shincho 45' Jan 2014

           Rakugo in Dubai     

2013   Recipient of Nakasone Yasuhiro Incentive Award, presented by the Former Prime Minister of Japan. 

          Kimono Workshop (How to dress in kimono)

          Osaka MICE distination showcase MICE night - MC     

           FM Yokohama/FM Cocolo 'Sunstar Weekend Journey' – guest

           Sekisui House Showroom 'Sumu fumu lab' - Balloon workshop

            Jiji press magazine ' Grass roots'

          Rakugo in English in Finland, Norway & Estonia

          Rakugo in English - Hyper Japan, London.

          NHK TV - 'NHK Special Nippon Shinsei'

          Nihon TV -  ’Nepu & Imoto's Sekai Banzuke'

          UNESCO sponsored event - Rakugo in English

          Talk & Slide show - ' Sharing Smiles in Tohoku' in Kobe

          Rakugo & Tour guide for 'Japanese Traditional Culture and Craftwork Day Trip'

          Rakugo in English - Bangalore, India

          Became certificated teacher of Laughter Yoga

          NHK Culture Center - Teaching Japanese Culture in English (from 2012)

2012  JAILA (Japan Association of Liberal Arts) Symposium

          NHK radio Radio Shinyabin 'Jinsei Watashi Ryu'

          Yomiuri TV -  'Takajin's Sokomade Itte Iinkai'

          Fuji TV - 'Nakayoshi TV'

          Rakugo at Laughter Yoga event, Tokyo

          Eiken Children’s Christmas show, Sapporo

2011 Radio City Liverpool, England

         Dokuenkai. Amuse Museum, Asakusa, Tokyo

         Nara TV - Regular presenter

         Big Bang Children’s Museum - balloon show

         Nagoya Junior Chamber of Commerce, Tea ceremony event (Ocha Kai)

         Hyper Japan 2011, London, England - English rakugo

         Talk on Japan - Junior High School, Liverpool, England

         NHK Hall - English rakugo for Children

         April, May, June – Volunteer entertainer in areas affected by the Great Northeast Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: Rakugo for senior citizens & balloon shows for children in Sendai, Ishinomaki, Higashi-Matsushima, Rikuzentakata, Kesenuma

2010  Noge Street Performers Festival, Yokohama

          Shuwa rakugo, Osaka City event

2009 J.COM Special. Guest

         NHK World -「OUT & ABOUT」 Reporter

         MBS Radio - Guest

         JICA Seminar on public speaking

         Sign language rakugo and talk show in Yamaguchi

2008 Performs sign language rakugo for the first time (Chuo-ku Challenged Association Council)

        Yomiuri TV “Information Live Miyaneya”, Asahi Broadcasting “Move”, NHK     World TV “Out & About” Miyamacho and Shinsekai Reporter, FM Cocolo “Person” Click

       JAL Scholarship Program Lecture and English rakugo

2007 Performs at Hanjotei

         NHK “English de shaberanaito”

         Midosuji 70th Anniversary Yomiuri Newspaper Osaka Edition 55th Anniversary Forum panelist

         Osaka-San Francisco Sister City 50th Anniversary English rakugo performed in San Francisco

        21st Century Journalist Forum (Kansai Press Club)

        NHK World TV “Nippon Yajikita Journey” reporter, Yomiuri TV “Information    Live Miyaneya”

       Completes basic sign language course

2006 Completes sign language introductory course

         Performs English rakugo at the Japan-America Society of Osaka

         NHK Radio International Broadcast

2005 Performs English rakugo at the British Embassy-sponsored party

         The Daily Yomiuri 50th Anniversary Talk Show appearance

         Kansai TV “Ohayo Kansai”  Take on a dream, NHK “Fight”, Yomiuri TV ”     Narutomo!”

        Agency for Cultural Affairs Japanese Education Meet

        Obtains Osaka Performer licence

        Main presenter of NHK Radio digital Bazaa

2004 Fuji TV “Mezamashi TV”, NHK Educational TV “Look Hustle Listen Hustle”

2003 Performs English rakugo at the British Embassy-sponsored party

         Asahi Broadcasting “Ohayo Call”, Sky PerfectTV “Preserving Japanese  lodgings”, Perfect TV English rakugo

2002 Received teacher's licence for tea ceremony (Sado, Omotte Senke School).

         Appeared in NHK TV and radio shows, TBS “Neighborly”, Kansai TV “A Plate of Smiles”, Tokai TV “Super News”

2001 Performs English rakugo in London

         Wins an award at Tempozan World Performance Festival

          NHK “Hello Nippon”, NHK “Totteoki Kansai”, Mainichi Broadcasting “Today’s Voice”, PerfectTV GLC Education channel commercial appearance, NHK “Kansai Genki Message”, Mainichi Broadcasting “Chichin Puipui”

2000 Solo show at Ikutama Shrine

1999 Appears in the annual Rakugo Meet at Wahha Kamigata for the first time

         English Rakugo American Tour (Seattle, Atlanta)

1998 Began studying rakugo and made stage debut as a Rakugo artist.

         Appeared on Nihon TV “Koi no Karasawagi” international specials (5 times)

1996-7 Began appearing on Japanese TV shows as a presenter. Guested on YTV’s “Kiss Dake de Iya”

1996 Introduced to Katsura Shijaku and made stage debut as his on-stage assistant

        Went to USA & Europe to study balloon art. Began performing as a balloon artist.

1994 Obtains teacher's licence in flower arranging (Misaki School)

1990 Arrived in and hitch-hiked around Japan.

Newspapers and magazines

The Japan Times; A Row of Gingko Trees; Global Manager; Newsweek; Osakafu Gekkan Wahha (magazine); Mainichi Newspaper; Ichou Hoseki; Nikkei Newspaper; Education Journal English Journal; Kobe Newspaper; Sankei Newspaper Catholic Pictorial (UK newspaper); Aera; Asahi Newspaper Daily; Post (UK newspaper); Yomiuri Life; The Asahi Weekly Funny Paper (Canadian magazine); Living Osaka; Kyoto Newspaper Balloon Magic (US magazine); The Daily Yomiuri; ALC Kansai Scene Sunday Mainichi; Yukan Fuji; Kansai Time Out; Osaka Prefecture Cultural Arts Almanac; Osaka Municipal Association Foundation “Osakajin” No. 56; NHK Radio English Conversation Advanced text,   Epoch Times, Asahi Shimbun Digital - 'Shukatsu Asahi'.


2002 Yomiuri Newspaper Website Diane Kichijitsu Living Quietly Essay series

2003 The Daily Yomiuri “Lucky Rakugo” Essay series

2006-08 Mainichi Weekly “Diane Kichijitsu’s Happy Happenings” Essay series


International Entertainment/Balloon Art Conventions

Texas (USA), Las Vegas (USA), Belgium (Europe), Boston (USA), Tokyo (Japan), Arizona (USA), Denver (USA)