So now that WHAT’S MANZAI?!!! PART 2 is finally out (though seemingly not in the US) and that part of my life is now completely done with, I’d be remiss in not mentioning the one place where you can hear me discuss Japanese showbiz on my own terms without a Yoshimoto staffer constantly whispering in my ear about not offending my sempai or making sure that I don’t say something about sponsor X, Y, or Z.
In case you were unsure about it or just went with the narrative of WHAT’S MANZAI?!!! that I am apparently the only non-Japanese person who ever thought about getting in Japanese comedy, there are others out there, and, starting a few months ago, a couple of us decided to get together and talk about our experiences as geinin in Japan because, quite frankly, you need an outlet for these sorts of things.
Those conversations kinda turned into regular thing that we decided to start recording and put out as the Big in Japan podcast, an uncensored, unfiltered, completely unendorsed by our agencies look at the Japanese entertainment world. I’d like to emphasis the uncensored part of this description because some of the stories shared on the show have been pretty darn raunchy (mostly because, as members of the Japanese entertainment industry, we haven’t had the chance to work blue in years).
But buried beneath the dirty stories about naked pizza and horny salarymen is a discussion about the Japanese entertainment industry that can only be had by people who are in it. Just within the first four episodes, we’ve discussed sexism in Japanese comedy, the sempai-kohai experience, and the inauthenticity of Japanese TV, all of which went in directions that I’m 125% sure our respective agencies would not have liked them to go.
While I’ve been on the record of hating how stick-to-the-script WHAT’S MANZAI?!!! was, sometimes we can get so frank on this show that I often wish that there was someone there to keep us in line or, in my case, directing me to speak into the nearest microphone. Make no mistake, this show is us saying what we want about the stressful, non-English speaking geinokai as we know it and, aside from a couple of names withheld for obvious reasons, it is all presented to you the listener straight from the tap As this is a new show, I’m hopeful that we’ll get better at this as we go along.
In all honesty, the recording sessions for this show have thus far really served more as a group therapy session than anything else and are possibly the funnest parts of my week. As far as I know, none of us have gotten permission to be doing this from our agencies so this could end as soon as some crusty old Japanese dude in a suit finds out we’ve been saying crap about something. If you have any interest in how any of this stuff works, please give us a listen before you do.
We’ve started a twitter for the show @BigJapanShow and a show email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please feel free to contact us on both and do tell a friend or two. And, of course, give us a listen here:On the iTunes Store!