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Posts tagged as japan

This Japanese Comedy Robot Is Terrifying

Here's video of a robot developed in Japan to make people laugh. It was created by a team of researchers at Japan's Waseda University led by Professor Atsuo Takanishi. The team wrote sketches for the robot to perform and broke down humor into "funny behavior (such as exaggeration, dirty jokes, parody, sympathetic stories and laughter), funny context (a running gag or doing something unexpected) and funny character (self-flattery, self-deprecation and imitation)." Results found that having the robot imitate a familiar human comedian made 80% of the audience laugh, but they were probably just laughing because they were watching a robot programmed to do comedy.

(via CNET)

The Second City and Yoshimoto Will Open a New Theater in Japan

The Second City's going international, with a new partnership with Japan's comedy conglomerate Yoshimoto Kogyo Co. LTD (which Laura taught us about last year). Apparently, the joint venture will bring The Second City's improv teachings to Yoshimoto and eventually launch a Second City theater in Tokyo to feature American and Japanese performers. The deal seems to represent a budding change in the culture of Japanese comedy, from the militant training of students in physical slapstick to a more political or naturalistic tone. Or maybe the reverse will happen, and Second City students in Chicago will start throwing plastic balls at each other's crotches in rehearsed dances! Whatever [...]

Taking a Look at the New Saturday Night Live JPN

Here's the intro to the new Japanese version of SNL that premiered last weekend. It's very similar to the US intro! They even got Don Pardo (or someone who sounds a lot like Don Pardo) to do the voiceover! Also, apparently Coke is a major sponsor of SNL JPN, which is interesting. But overall, this looks relatively faithful to the original. It makes sense; the Spanish version of SNL would often remake popular American sketches for a local audience.

Unlike the original, this version airs monthly rather than weekly, but it's still broadcast live, which is somewhat of a rarity in Japan. And the comedy? Apparently, [...]

Holy Shit, the Japanese Intro to 30 Rock Is Amazing

Guys. Guys! This is the intro to 30 Rock in Japan. It's really something! It makes the show seem so slapsticky, and there's a closeup of Cerie's butt right at the beginning, and what is that theme song? I love it so much.

Upcoming Obstacle Races, by Alex Pearson

Mark your calendars, runners. Don’t miss out on the newest, most challenging, and inventive races yet.

The Urban Obstacler: Running eight miles is hard enough, but now throw in simulated real-life automobile traffic, startled pedestrians, furious outdoor vendors, unfazed homeless people, and a completely unmarked course. And while we don’t have actors dressed up as zombies chasing you, watch out for our very convincing police officers trying to stop you to ask about permits. Just remember, no matter what happens, don’t give them any information about to whom you paid your entry fee. That is automatic disqualification!

The Quicksand Scamper: 200 of the area’s most adventurous runners; 10 kilometers of [...]

Would You Enroll in Japan's Comedy School?

Back in March, Laura Turner Garrison told us all about the giant content production company Yoshimoto and its firm grip on the Japanese comedy industry. Here's a piece from the Japan Times featuring the place where many of Yoshimoto's employees get their start: a comedy school called New Star Creation (NSC). Students are taught everything from basic skills, like projecting their voices, to more nuanced aspects of an act, such as finding their comedic character. According to instructor Taiki Momino, the school "forces the students to create their own material and then gives them a place in which to present it to an audience of their peers." [...]

A Japanese Saturday Night Live Premieres This Weekend

Apparently, there are international versions of Saturday Night Live? How did I not know this? There are already Italian and Spanish SNLs, and this weekend marks the debut of Saturday Night Live JPN in Japan. Says Deadline: "Broadway Video Enterprises and Japanese indie producer Yoshimoto Kogyo collaborated on the series, on which Fuju producer Isao Kagari serves in the Lorne Michaels role, pulling cast members from his late-night show Pikaru No Teiri to join a weekly host and musical guest — the same as the American version." Laura Garrison, take note!

The New Season of 'Childrens Hospital' Takes Place on a Military Base in Japan

TV's craziest fake medical drama is about to get even crazier. This week, Adult Swim released info on Season 5 of Childrens Hospital, which is set to debut sometime in July, and the entire season takes place at a pediatric clinic on a U.S. Army base in Japan. It sounds pretty incredible and exactly like the kind of ambitious, unconventional stuff this show is known for. Here's a description of the season via Adult Swim:

Childrens Hospital returns for its fifth season to find the doctors relocated to a pediatric clinic on a U.S. Army base in Osaka, Japan. With the loss of recently murdered co-worker Dr. Blake Downs [...]

Japan's Talk Show King Quits Over Yakuza Connection

Kotaku has the story of Japan's Shinksuke Shimada retiring from showbusiness yesterday over links to yakuza, pretty scandalous business considering that the comedian currently hosts six TV shows and is basically the equivalent of David Letterman or Jay Leno, with a splash of Ryan Seacrest.

Allegedly Shimada's company Yoshimoto Creative Agency Co. found out via text message records that the popular host was close friends with a high-ranking crime boss. While technically being best buds with a powerful criminal isn't in and of itself illegal, Shimada opted to retire when the news broke. "I did not feel that I was doing something wrong. To me (the relationship) [...]

Yoshimoto and the Business of Comedy in Japan

What is the deal with international comedy? Join me each week to ask that very question in Comedy Tourism as I explore different trends and traditions of how the rest of the world makes funny in their respective native tongues. Don’t forget your passports! Just kidding, you don’t need your passport. Or do you? (You don’t.)

The 3rd Annual Okinawa International Movie Festival is going on in Japan right now. From March 18th through the 27th, screenings and events are taking place as planned. What has changed is seemingly everything else in the country. But, instead of canceling the film festival in light of the recent tragedy, [...]