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A painting of a pair of manzai comedy actors

Manzai (漫才?) is a traditional kind of Japanese comedy.[1] Manzai is a special kind of stand-up comedy.[2] It is both dialogue and performance.

A comedy team brings together a straight man (tsukkomi) who feeds punchlines to a funny man (boke).[3] A pair of comedians with a special back-and-forth style is called kakeai manzai.[2]


The history of manzai began in the Nara period.[4]

In the Edo period, the traditional dialogue was performed on stage.[1]

In modern times, manzai performances are televised in Japan.[1]

New Year's tradition

In Japan's past, traditional manzai performers would go from house to house in the New Year's season. They would sing songs[5] and perform good-luck dances in return for a small amount of rice or money.[6]

Other pages


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2002). "Manzai" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 608.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Torikai, Kumiko. (2009). Voices of the Invisible Presence: Diplomatic Interpreters in Post-World War II Japan, p. 116 n66.
  3. "Manzai (Double-act comedy)"; retrieved 2011-11-21.
  4. Kodansha. (1985). "Mansai," Encyclopedia of Japan, Vol. 5, p. 111.
  5. Yamaguchi, Kenkichi et al. (1964). We Japanese, p. 5.
  6. Ueda, Makoto. (1995). Bashō and His interpreters: Selected Hokku with Commentary, p. 309.

More reading

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