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Japanese jokes & sense of humour

Gregory646

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Hello!
I would like to know more about humour in Japanse culture. How is your experience with that? What do your friends in Japan laugh about? Could you share a Japanese joke?
I'm fascinated about the nuances humour has in different countries and cultures. If neighbours like France and Britain have a quite different taste, I imagine it will so much more different in Japan. Would a Western mind find a Japanese joke funny? Please share your confessions, stories, jokes etc etc etc.
Thanks for the input!
Gregory
 

Petaris

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I suggest you take a look at some Japanese TV shows, especially the comedy talk shows, and see what you think. You shouldn't judge all Japanese humor by them of course but you may find it enlightening.
 

mdchachi

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Japanese (professional) humour tends to be slapstick and almost always involves two or more people. (Think Benny Hill or Fry and Laurie). Check out the work of Ken Shimura. Comedians often have visual gimmicks. I'm thinking of imoto with her schoolgirl outfit and weird eyebrow makeup.
There is also a long tradition of storytelling called rakugo which is purely narrative and quite the opposite of the above.
I've never heard of a standup comedian in Japan i.e. one person standing on stage telling stories and jokes. And certainly none that could sell out large venues like Eddie Murphy or Seinfeld.

As far as humor at the ground level goes... I don't know, I don't find it that much different between people. But now that you mention it, I don't recall anybody ever telling or sharing a "joke." Like "knock, knock who's there" or "so there's two guys in a bar. The first guy says to the other guy..." Usually it's just puns or plays on words. But I'm sure my experience is limited.
 

Lothor

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Japanese humour? It's basically a sempai hitting a kohai on the head isn't it? ;) I certainly sit stony-faced while my Japanese wife and native Japanese speaking kids are rolling around laughing and it's not just the language gap.

mdchachi is right about the lack of joke telling. I remember having dinner with a number of Japanese and British people in Britain a long time ago, and the Japanese people looked on in amazement as the Brits started telling jokes to each other (most of them dirty). The idea of joke telling was completely alien to them.
And yet, I manage to have a good laugh when I go out and meet Japanese friends. The humour tends to be more context-based and involves a shared understanding of ridiculous situations.
 

peters7

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As i know еhe Japanese are very conservative people who keep all their emotions to themselves so as not to offend anyone or cause inconvenience. Therefore, humor in Japan is different from humor in other countries.
 

Petaris

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As i know еhe Japanese are very conservative people who keep all their emotions to themselves so as not to offend anyone or cause inconvenience. Therefore, humor in Japan is different from humor in other countries.
I would potentially agree about not trying to offend IF you are talking about not trying to offend other Japanese. Have you seen the commercials with foreigners being played by Japanese wearing long fake noses? Some of it is just outliers for sure but its a bit ridiculous that those get past whatever group reviews them before being aired.

Back on the humor topic, I have never understood what is funny about hitting people with canes. I tried looking for a clip but couldn't find one. Here is an article that mentions it: The annual pain and pleasure of punished comedians

I just don't find it funny at all, but my wife finds it hilarious. :/
 

mdchachi

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That brings up the fact that a lot of their comedy is not just slapstick but gamman-based. We watched a lot of Quest for a while and most of the programs are the cast members trying to achieve something extremely difficult in various locations around the world. Gambare meets Gamman.
 
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