Synopses & Reviews
For many Western students of Japanese culture and visitors to Japan, Japanese humor seems obscure, difficult to find, and perhaps even nonexistent. By bringing together scholarly insights and original research by both Japanese and non-Japanese experts, Jessica Milner Davis bridges the differences between humor in Japan and the West and examines the entire spectrum of Japanese humor, from ancient traditions and surviving rituals of laughter to the norms of joke-telling in ordinary conversation in Japan and America. For anyone interested in Japan and Japanese culture, or the study of humor, Understanding Humor in Japan is an important teaching tool. It provides accessible, illustrative examples of humor in both Japanese and English with explanations of their meaning and culture significance. Scholarly yet readable, these essays offer intelligent discussion on such topics as the Japanese delight in wordplay, the hidden comic content of Japanese newspapers, the role of film and television in developing modern Japanese stand-up comedy, and formal censorship and its impact on humorous writing and self-expression in Japan, Understanding Humor in Japan breaks new ground in the study of humor, reveals Japan's rich comic traditions, and sheds light on much that is taken for granted about the role of laughter in civilized societies.