A couple of weeks ago I went to watch a rakugoka (a sit-down comedian) perform in Kagurazaka, Tokyo. I was curious to know what kind of humour would make the locals laugh. It did not take long to find out, and it was not as I expected.
Moments before the start, a woman in the audience walked into the toilet. The rakugoka spotted her going in, and shouted out.
“If you`re not back within three minutes, we`ll all presume you`ve been for a crap”.
That comment got the biggest laugh of the night.
I had thought Japan lacked quality toilet humour, but my mind is changing. On Thursday I was texted a link to a togetter post, (togetter is a Japanese version of twitter). The post tries to explain the current nuclear crisis in terms of crapping and farting. It has already been texted around Tokyo and made into a mini-manga.
In the mini-manga version, there are 3 boys, Chernobyl-kun, Three Mile-kun and Japan-kun. (Japanese adults often add kun to young boys names) The cheeky looking American boy, Three Mile-kun does a loud fart, but the smell does not reach far.
With graver consequences, bushy-eyebrowed Chernobyl-kun craps himself. He is not wearing a nappy, and afterwards, he runs around the classroom spreading mayhem.
Japan-kun is the hero of the story. He wears a nappy, and doesn`t crap himself. He only farts. We are assured the smell will not travel far, and that doctors are working hard to find the right medicine for his troubling stomach pains.
Many people have posted comments thanking the author. They are grateful for how much `easier to understand` the crisis has become. Worryingly, one Japanese posted a comment below the story saying
“Fantastic. I`m going to teach this at school tomorrow.”
I just hope the tormented scientists struggling at the Fukushima plant aren`t his students.
Link to the youtube video with over 1,000,000 views.