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Jokes and Humor in Japan

Japan has some of the strangest humor by western standards anywhere in Asia. You can see this unique brand of humor in some Western movies like “Lost in Translation”. From the interesting TV shows to the twists on conventional Western jokes, you are guaranteed to laugh both initially when experiencing it for the first time, and later when you understand what is actually going on.


However in terms of your own jokes, try to keep them to a minimum, as the chance to cause offense is always a risk when travelling abroad. Japan is a country with proud traditions and a unique perception of the world. It would be relatively easy, especially after a few takes of Sake, to slip up and say something that might inadvertently offend your guest or host. Watching a movie together which is Western and humorous is one thing, trying to be humorous is another.


Take the time to explore the Japanese sense of humor, see what their jokes are all about, get a better idea of where they originate from. You can learn a lot about a country from its sense of humor so to speak. As an ESL teacher working in Japan it should be a priority to learn as much as you can in order to better connect with your students

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