Preparation for a Manzai Performance


Preparation for a Manzai Performance
Book page   (Part of the set: Flowers of the Seasons)

Kitagawa Utamaro
Yoshikawa Kōbunkan


Print is Public Domain; Photography is:   Creative Commons License


While manzai now refers to a comedic stand-up act with two actors, it used to refer to a traditional performance to welcome the new year. The two performers, the boke (funny man) and tsukkomi (straight man), would recite messages from the gods, and over the years this became the type of comedic manzai we know today.

In this print we can see the two performers behind a screen - the boke holding his drum and the tsukkomi with his fan behind him. In the foreground, of course, are the elegant courtesans, dressed up to the nines for the special new year's event.

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