Japanese Comedy Show Hosts Legends Suffering from Honne and Hard Honesty.
We are all familiar with conflict. Usually we feel obligated to intervene in arguments between friends or family. However, the feeling doesn’t always translate into action. Partly because nobody wants to risk a misguided fist or slap to the face.
*Following Japanese custom, I attached honorifics when referring to people. The suffix “-san” implies “Mr.” or “Ms.”In Japan, this is essentially called your “real face” or honne (本音).
The Japanese comedy group, Rough High-Five or Zakkuri High Touch (ざっくりハイタッチ), has a show where they stop an argument between a fellow comedian duo, only to have the duo respond with a hard personal truth back at them. The revelation is essentially that thing you’ve always wanted to say to a friend, but never had the courage to say. In Japan, this is essentially called your “real face” or honne (本音). After all, honesty hurts, especially when it comes from your junior. In the Japanese working environment, ranking determines the language used. So, those that have been in the game for a while expect respect from the young or inexperienced.
However, at the time of this video, this duo, Onigoe Tomahawk (鬼越トマホーク), has only been in the comedy world for six years. They are infants compared to some of the legends in the room. The bit starts when Onigoe begins to argue over nonsense. While their name and years of seniority is displayed on screen, the veterans run to the room to end the petty squabble. As the veteran attempts to pull them apart saying, “Stop fighting!” the bald comedian, Sakai (坂井), then abruptly ends the argument to spit out a straightforward truth about the mediator’s history or behavior. His partner, Kinno (金野) coolly explains and elaborates on the remark while the victim reels in shock.
The two always start off with something foolish to argue over, such as at 1:01. Here, in typical fashion, Sakai-san accuses his partner of going out with co-workers from his part time job as lame. He goes on to say “Guys over 30 dating girls from their part time job are disgusting. They’re usually the ones that lose in the second leg of the comedy championships.” Kinno-san comes back with “Shut the hell up, you don’t even work a part time job on the side!” Sakai responds with, “Why bother when I’m surviving off the taxi fare change from the boss.”
Chihara Junior (千原ジュニア), one of the most well-known comedians in Japan with over two decades in the game, steps into the thick of it and gets hit with “Shut up you pervert! What 41 year old marries a girl half his age?” Kinno, although more calm, lays the victim to sleep in their coffin with a poignant, “He doesn’t really mean that. We really want to congratulate you as a newlywed. But, really thinking about it, won’t it be rough down the road?” As he is walking out shattered, Sakai lays the final blow with, “Get out of here with your Lolita complex, Bones!” mocking his love for young women and his slim frame. After he returns to the couch, Chihara-san compares the experience to visiting Baskin Robbins. However, instead of a double scoop ice cream, Tomahawk-san laid a triple scoop of truth on him.
Who knows, in dousing a fire you could find gold. Here’s to keeping it real with those we love.