Japanese "fish out of water" comedies?

Aaron Gerow gerowaaron at sbcglobal.net
Sun Feb 13 09:16:49 EST 2005

You can find elements of this in many of the long running comedy film 
series in Japan. Just think of Tora-san (Otoko wa tsurai yo): 
especially as the series got older, his anachronistic character became 
more and more the butt of jokes (thus in the last film, he is shocked 
by a cordless telephone). Hama-chan in Tsuri baka nisshi is almost 
literally a fish out of water because he is quite at home on the water 
fishing, but certainly not in the corporate office. Some of the war 
comedies, like Nitohei monogatari or Heitai yakuza (the latter is not 
always a comedy), worked with this to turn the tables, making the fish 
out of water an element criticizing the institutional setting. You can 
also see that in some of the Crazy Cats movies, too.

Aaron Gerow
KineJapan owner

Assistant Professor
Film Studies Program/East Asian Languages and Literatures
Yale University

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