Manga Planet Encyclopedia: What is a Rōdoku Geki ?

If you have been reading RAYZ OF LIGHT here at Manga Planet, you might have seen the term rōdoku geki, sometimes spelled roudoku geki or roduku geki. The term is not strictly associated with manga culture in Japan due to the mixing of mediums in Japan, many manga and anime series receive rōdoku geki adaptations at one point or another.

Quick Japanese Lesson

The kanji for rōdoku geki is 朗読劇 with 朗読 meaning “reading aloud” and “劇” indicating play or drama. Roughly translated, it is a play that is “read aloud” or recited. In practice, however, it is a distinct genre of entertainment that can blend elements from anime, manga, and theater.

At a typical rōdoku geki, actors perform on stage while reading from a script.

The closest approximation in English is a closet drama, a play created with the intent to be read rather than performed.  Rōdoku geki share some similarities to a readers’ theatre in the actors do not memorize the script and the play lacks blocking. Yet, in Japan, the actors wear costumes to depict the character and visuals and music accompany them at many rōdoku geki.

Since this type of play emphasizes voice acting, Japanese voice actors often appear in rōdoku geki and in recent years they have become a vital act in anime stage events.

See, for example the Rōdoku Geki Blood+ Kanajo ga Nemuru Aida ni where famed voice actors like Suwabe Junichi read from scripts in costume with lighting and live music.


RAYZ OF LIGHT, a new manga series currently being released on Manga Planet in English and Manga Hack in Japanese, initially started as a crowd-funded rōdoku geki of the same name created by writer Yasunori Kasuga and sound creator ROU.  Well-known stage actors like Yuki Kimisawa performed in the original live production in November 2017. This project has already become a manga and light novel and will have another performance titled RAYZ OF LIGHT//Rakuyō Sanka on June 2, 2018 at Tokyo Tenzen Onsen Kodai no Yu.  RAYZ OF LIGHT//Rakuyō Sanka will have a matsuri theme and is crowdfunding on Green T-site. More information can be found on the official website: http://rayzoflight.jp/ and https://greenfunding.jp/lab/projects/2249

You can also read the latest chapter of RAYZ OF LIGHT for free on Manga Planet.

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