What’s Latest (or reasonably recent, at least)

Motoko Regales Thousands!

Motoko’s 4th appearance at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee on October 7-9, 2016, was a smashing success! As a Featured Teller, she enjoyed presenting nearly 5 hours of material over the course of the weekend, which included hilarious traditional tales, poignant personal stories, spooky ghost stories, sacred Buddhist tales, and the premier of “RADIANT: Stories from Fukushima,” her new multimedia performance piece on the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown. Motoko thanks everyone who came to her sets, and the International Storytelling Center for giving her this amazing opportunity!

The Massachusetts Cultural Council Funds More Residency Programs

Two schools the 2016-2017 STARS Grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council to work with Motoko! She thanks the MCC for allowing her to offer exciting new programs in:

  • Elm Park Community School (Worcester)---5th and 6th graders will have 13 sessions with Motoko and write original folktales in a graphic novel format, in which a child hero saves the community by confronting a mysterious creature and prevailing over it in a riddle challenge.
  • R H Conwell Elementary (Worthington)---K-6 students will focus on the art of origami, as it relates to creative writing and geometry, in a 10-day residency.

Origami for Art Teachers

Rakugo at UMass!

Motoko’s premier performance, Rakugo: Comical Tales from Japan, at the University of Massachusetts in October 2015 was a tremendous success! It was sponsored by the Asian Arts and Culture Program at the Fine Arts Center, and featured Masayo Ishigure on koto and shamisen. Watch the excerpts of the show at:

Motoko Rakugo Playlist

This is what Ranjanaa Devi, the Director of the Asian Arts and Culture Program, has to say. Thank you, Ranjanaa!

"The entire evening was outstanding! One of the most enjoyable performances…Motoko translates intrinsically Japanese cultural ideas and idioms for an English speaking audience and craft the words to make them understand, laugh, and transported in time and space."

Motoko’s Residency Program Funded by STARS Grant!

The Massachusetts Cultural Council awarded 2015-16 STARS Residencies Grant to 3 wonderful schools working with Motoko! Between January and April, Motoko worked at:

Mapleshade Elementary School (East Longmeadow): a 10 day creative writing residency with the third graders. (See an article in the Reminder here)

Jacob Hiatt Magnet School (Worcester): a 10 day creative writing residency with the second and the fourth graders.

Swift River School (New Salem): an 11 day residency on Japanese culture and arts with the whole school (K-6).

Thank you all who were involved for making these programs super successful!

This is Motoko’s 4th year to receive funding from the MCC’s STARS Grant. In the past she worked with:



Taft Early Learning Center (Uxbridge)

Williamsburg Elementary School


Whitin Elementary (Uxbridge)

Pakachoag Elementary (Auburn)


Westhampton Elementary

Plains School (South Hadley)

Motoko thanks the MCC for their dedication to support arts in education in Massachusetts!

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