Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Best Joke in Japanese of the Last 420 Years

And the award for the best joke in Japanese of the last 420 years goes to legendary wit and Hideyoshi Toyotomi advisor Sorori Shinzaemon 曽呂利新左衛門 (? ~ 1603)→
One day Sorori came to Hideyoshi and said that there was a cucumber eating a cucumber. Hideyoshi did not believe him, and agreed to give him a reward if he could prove it. Sorori took Hideyoshi out and pointed to a man sitting by the side of the road eating something. Hideyoshi complained that he was just a man. Sorori said,“Look well. That man is a wood seller [きうり]. He has a bundle of firewood on his back, and he is eating a cucumber [きうり]. That's why I told you that a KIURI (wood seller) is eating a KIURI (cucumber).

Source: Salvatore Attardo's Encyclopedia of Humor Studies (2014) [direct quote from Dr. Marguerite A. Wells's entry on humor in classical Japan]

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