Manga Study Guide: Barefoot Gen/Humour
Gag manga is a type of Japanese manga that portrays humor. Gag manga started from the Taisyou era to the Syouwa era. At that time, humor was essential to every manga and people called it the ponch picture. But in the 1960s a new type of manga called Gekiga was created that had no elements of humor. Because of this, manga was divided in groups and the Gag manga was born.
For example one of the techniques used in gag manga is ‘chibikyara’: Chibikyara are mini version of a character. Chibikyara are usually a used in a comedy manga. Authors also create mangas that include only Chibikyara for a sub story.
Tsukkomi is a technique to create humor in Japan. This technique usually has two roles, the Boke role (funny man) and the Tsukkomi role (straight man). Usually Boke role says something funny or does something silly. In response, the Tsukkomi role points out the mistake that the Boke role did and starts rectify what the Boke role said or did. By pulling back the topic, it creates a tempo making it easier for the Boke role to say more jokes.
In Japanese manga, sometimes the authors use words with similar meanings, spellings, sounds etc. A sentence such as “Friends for dinner” is a good example. It has two meanings, one is having dinner with your friends. The other definition would be eating friends for dinner. Like this manga also uses this technique to make the manga funny. It also helps the Tsukkomi technique to create a topic.