Joshiraku 01 – notes and the like

So here we go. A certain fansubber mate suggested before the season started that we check out Binbougami and Joshiraku. I pretty much gave up on Joshiraku right away, since it airs right after E7 AO on Thursday nights and neither of these shows are so easy to take two of them one night. Then when I watched the Binbogami trailer, I figured that wasn’t my style either. But then when I watched the first episode of Joshiraku, my hesitation turned into certainty: I want to sub this. Of course with the amount of blogging and the difficulty of the script I wouldn’t even dream of doing it after E7, so speedsubbing was out of the question. I’m taking it slow, but I have no intentions of dropping Joshiraku.

After watching the first episode, pretty much everyone in the fansubbing scene told me to give up on it: this is not meant for people who don’t understand Japanese. It’s probably true. But still, I really enjoy working on it.

Their performances are all this grade. Horrible puns. After all, they are beginner rakugo comedians. The Japanese pun here is with the words 挨拶 (aisatsu, greeting) and 配達 (haitatsu, delivery). Luckily the context let me swap the words without losing much of the original meaning. The “greeting” would be probably an audience with some lord or something.

Japanese use these seal stamps on official documents where westerners would normally sign. On delivery you can use your hanko (判子, the seal stamp) or just sign if you don’t have it on hand.

That place for the performer’s name in the left wing (下手 shimote) of the stage is called the mekuri. By the way, all rakugo performer’s names in the show are some kind of a pun. There will be a scene with many of them at once later, I’ll go into detail then.

Literally “thank you for allowing me to study/work before you”. She’s a rakugo comedian apprentice (as explained later), who still studies the art.

The onomatopoeia chin-ton-shan is referring to the sound of the shamisen’s three strings. (I love the opening.)

The first line after the opening. What a start.

Not to mention they’re doing a good job at it.

She did it. Used the word 普段 (fudan, normal, usual).

Please do so.

The best character.

Beef bowl (牛丼 gyuudon) brand logos in the background. From top left clockwise: Yoshinoya, Matsuya, Tokyo Chikara Meshi and the best, Sukiya.

She uses the acronym TPO, which stands for Time, Place and Occasion – basically the circumstances of a situation.

I wouldn’t normally bother to translate this for the release, but the sage people gave us their typesetting after they gave up on the show, and I didn’t check thoroughly enough to realize this fuckup. That’s supposed to be “Please bring this invitation with you” and not “Please wait for our invitation”. The text on the right is long and full of meaningless formalities, no point in translating it.

Chinese actually do that.

Useful Japanese phrases #392: すっぽんぽん supponpon, stark naked.


Apache Baseball Force. Marii’s comment is right: probably no one knows it.

Another sign that doesn’t originate from me. The Japanese sign (covered out) says ヘイポー (heipo), which is the nickname of a baseball player (of a team mentioned later). Or a TV personality.

All these names are puns. I can’t say I’ve figured them all out…

  • 駄豆(亜)亭針井四 (daatei harii shi): Fourth Dirty Harry. (There are at least three others, I’m not pointing them out one by one.)
  • 空琉美遊亭丸京 (kuurubiyuutei gankyou), our bespectacled heroine. The first name is “cool beauty” while gankyou means “glasses” if written with different characters (眼鏡).
  • 美尾乱亭誤自裸 (biorantei gojira): both Biollante and Gojira (Godzilla) are Japanese tokusatsu supermonsters.
  • 夢寸亭平井手 (musuntei hiraite): musunde hiraite is a quite famous Japanese children’s song.
  • 安談亭羅留誤 (andantei rarugo): andante and largo from your music.
  • 矢個屁亭紋度 (yakohetei mondo): Jacopetti’s Mondo.
  • 童氏亭工菜多 (doushitei kounata): どうしてこうなった (doushite kou natta), “how did it end up like this?”
  • 死亭棒胃 (shitei boui): city boy.
  • 蕪羅亭魔梨威 (buratei marii), the red haired girl. Bloody Mary.
  • 恋四亭愛四手 (koishitei aishite): love me, love me.

Let’s get over with other names too that show up in the episode. First, the remaining three main characters:

  • 防波亭手寅 (bouhatei tetora): the purple haired girl. 防波堤 (bouhatei) means “breakwater” and tetora is for “tetrapod” (written as “palmtop tiger”).
  • 波浪浮亭木胡桃 (haroukitei kigurumi): the blonde girl. Hello Kitty character costume (着ぐるみ).
  • 暗落亭苦来 (anrakutei kukuru): the depressed girl. The anraku part either stands for “unlucky” or “euthanasia” (安楽死 anrakushi). 括る (kukuru) means to hang oneself.

Now the rest:

  • 猫之亭喪仮鯛 (nekonotei mokaritai): 猫の手も借りたい (neko no te mo karitai) is an expression for being in dire need.
  • 海亭蚊惨 (kaitei kazan): 海底火山, submarine volcano.
  • 股似亭度礼酢 (matanitei doresu): maternity dress.
  • 千葉六亭麻淋図 (chibarokutei marinzu): 千葉ロッテマリーンズ (chiba rotte marinzu), a baseball team.
  • 背府亭番都 (sefutei banto): safety bunt.

The greeting they use (ご苦労様 gokurousama) is the usual greeting in the rakugo scene. I had to make it something distinctive.

Kigurumi best girl.

Not joking. I was seriously tempted to “typo” brololi as broccoli though.

Rakugo vocab for you.

  • 定席 (jouseki, lit fixed seat) are established rakugo theaters (寄席 yose).
  • The stage is called the “high seat” (高座 kouza).
  • The ranks of rakugo comedians are “early seat” (前座 zenza), “second” (二つ目 futatsume) and 真打 (shinuchi, true hit).

For some reason (probably for the sake of the pun) she calls her towel a “mandala” (まんだら). I like how this turned out in the end. Note here: when they say really bad puns, the background music stops and the scene changes. This is one of those.

Horrible pun on that nya-nya is the cat’s meowing sound and 七 (nana) is “seven”.

Boiling problem. 煮炊く (nitaku, to cook). She’s about to say something about mushrooms.

Brings back despairing memories.


A joke that’s not really a joke, and it really can’t be translated. Dog skin is used in shamisen for practicing.

This isn’t a pun in the Japanese, but it works so fine… (Also the 笑 in the background is just “Laugh”, not “lol”.)

A Hawaiian king.

Talk about unoffensive. This is as political as it gets. The northern islands disputed with Russia, the sea territory disputed with China and so on…

The Jugemu is a blessing for newborn children. (Actually the whole thing is the ridiculously long name of a baby in a rakugo story.) I took some liberties translating it. (Winks at Spock.)

This whole phrase (“write it as x, read it as y, the point of it is z“) is pretty much the philosophy of how Japanese handled kanji.

This entry was posted by Vale.

47 thoughts on “Joshiraku 01 – notes and the like

  1. How about pdf of TL notes similar to gg’s Pani Poni Dash last time? Anyway, good job so far. Thanks.

  2. No mention about I thought it was a pretty clear reference to 焦点.

    Also, I haven’t seen gg’s ED, but I’m not entirely sure if “write it as x, read it as y, the point of it is z“ is the best way to translate “x, y, その心は z”. From what I’ve observed, the その心は joke depends on stating two different things and finding what’s “common” between them, be it a pun (おふろ and 028) or a phrase/outcome (like they use in the ED).

    • I couldn’t really figure out any better translation for that that can be fit in the confines of a song. Do you have any better?
      (おふろ would be 026 by the way)

  3. About the stage names. Are the kanji arranged in a manner so their readings become new words?

    Oh, and thanks for a job well done.

  4. Thank you so much for subbing this, and especially for this explanatory post. I’m an intermediate-level Japanese student, and watching the show/reading the notes has taught me quite a few things today! I hope you have the time to keep doing explanations here, it helped me a lot.

    I think I caught another reference, too. The 手寅 of 防波亭手寅 refers to a Palmtop Tiger, as you said. The animator Yasu from Toradora! works on Joshiraku. Taiga from Toradora! is often called 手乗りタイガ, also meaning Palmtop Tiger. Not sure if you caught that or not, but it was nice for me to finally understand a little cameo!

  5. Thank you so much for picking this up. I loved the first episode. You’ve done an excellent job, and there are plenty of us who know it. Ignore the trolls and keep up the good work.

  6. You’re a god among men, Vale. Thank you for this, and fuck what the others in the fansub scene say.

  7. Oh damn, koda wasn’t kidding when she said this show was meant for Japanese people to see in Japanese. Hang in there.

  8. Anrakutei is also a reference to the Buddhist priest Anrakuan Sakuden (安楽庵 策伝; 1554 – 1642). In 1628 he wrote the “Seisuishô (醒睡笑)”, a book with more than 1.000 humorous anecdotes, which is considered as a forerunner of hanashibon, a literary genre comprising books with compilations of funny stories. Therefore he is called the founder of rakugo.
    Thanks for your notes.

  9. amazingly well done, Vale! thanks so much, I’m so relieved that you have no intentions to drop this unusually hilarious series. I’ve never been in this kind of love with any anime series ♡

  10. I was surprised at how nearly everyone dropped fansubbing this show.
    I understand it that most joke are not to be understood without knowing Japanese language, but this is not new, there has been many shows like that, and each time, they’ve been subbed by at least few groups.
    Not to mention the manga has been scanlated.

    So why everyone in the fansubbing community thought it was not meant for non-Japanese people ?
    It’s not so much because of the joke or references that only native Japanese could understand.
    The truth is, there is a moment at the end of the first episode which really make you think that this is not meant for non-Japanese to watch.
    If you watched it, you probably felt the same way.
    This “give it back” joke makes you really feel like you shouldn’t make this available for non-japanese people.

    So because of that, no other group is going to sub it, and that’s a pity, because this show is really good (that is, if you can understand at least half of pun and references).
    I do respect your the work you did with the subs for this, but I would have preferred a more literal translation filled with translation notes.

    now back with the give it back joke :
    “The northern islands disputed with Russia, the sea territory disputed with China and so on…”
    and so on ? aren’t you supposed to give a comprehensive explanation ?
    -Land : Russia
    -People : North korea
    -Technology : South Korea
    -submarine resources : China
    -money : National Diet of Japan

    • It’s not because of the slightly nationalist ending, it’s really because people are scared by the jokes. The SZS OVA hasn’t been subbed by anyone else either as far as I know.
      A more literal translation with notes? Apologies, that’s not gonna happen. It’s just not my style. The subs aren’t supposed to explain the jokes. I prefer to translate the jokes as much as possible, so that the people watching it will laugh. You wouldn’t laugh if it was just a note explaining the pun.
      (Also I don’t recall ever saying I was going to provide complete and comprehensive explanations. Your additions are always welcome.)

  11. Without these translator notes I wouldn’t have been able to comprehend this episode. I enjoyed it. Thanks.

  12. Man, this show is hard to watch XD Gotta pause at every joke, check this site, check the dictionary, etc. Thanks for the awesome work though.

  13. Mind elaborating the “traditional pun” one?
    I can only think of it being between 津波 and 「つまねえ」.

    • I’d say it’s because “Don’t ask stupid stuff!” is a very common retort in Japanese comedy. (The kind of humor westerners usually have trouble appreciating.)

      • I was hoping that you translate Mary’s retort as “Stop asking pointless questions!”. That, way, the pun fits.

        >talk about mountains
        >stop asking “pointlesss” questions
        >traditional pun

  14. Thanks a lot for this. I really love these five girls.
    I hope that the release gap between episodes won’t be too big; I remember how agonizing it was to wait for each new SZS episode back on the first season.

  15. Thanks for subbing this and all the notes you’ve posted here gg.
    I enjoyed this show despite not knowing a word of japanese. Keep up the good work.

  16. Thanks so much for subbing this! Just wanted to let you know I really appreciate the notes, too 🙂

  17. while its not funny show its quite interesting. you did a great job and I am looking forward to see the next ep. and OP is really great, I cant wait till the release of full song (8th august I think?)

  18. I really appreciate the fact that you’re doing this, as this is one of the most interesting shows this season, and even if I could speak Japanese beyond knowing a handful of phrases, I doubt I’d be able to follow the wordplay. These notes are also an interesting peek into the translation process, which I’ve always found really interesting.

  19. Vale, I know Koda doesn’t like manzai but please leave the tsukkomi(such as the “big” kanji segment) as a plain tsukkomi. From experience of watching gg’s works this will probably get ignored.

    Thanks for the subs, great job on this anime.

      • Gankyou did a straight man reply after Kigurumi’s silly pet loss syndrome kanji reveal “That’s [the kanji for] “big”.”
        The most “proper” way to translate the reply should include the words in the bracket, I guess. Since leaving those words would result in an unintentional pun. The subs took an extra mile and changed it from a straight man reply into an intentional pun reply.

        Minor stuff, but it kinda bothered me.

    • I only edit the “A” part of Joshiraku (which thus far would be the anime original meta humor segment in episode 1, and the wealth segment from episode 2). This information is also available on the website under the staff section.

      Anyway, the way that the tsukkomi/boke lines were presented in the release are also how vale wrote them in the translation. None of the editors changed jokes unless we were instructed to. So, yes, you’re likely right in that he’ll ignore your request. 🙂

  20. Some corrections an anon posted on /a/:

    > Boiling problem. 煮炊く (nitaku, to cook). She’s about to say something about mushrooms.
    煮炊く should be 二択 (nitaku, two choices). The mushrooms thing is a reference to

    “In Japan, we’ve had the Kinoko Takenoko War since 1980.
    It’s the biggest civil war in Japanese history.
    This war was named after 2 snacks sold by Meiji Seika,
    “Kinoko no Yama (CHOCOROOMS)” and “Takenoko no Sato (CHOCOCONES)”
    People split into two groups and fight each other in the war.”

  21. Pingback: Joshiraku 03 – notes and the like « Not Red Reviews

  22. Well one hell of a thing to find I must say. Props to the amount of work that went into this.

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