Chronicling Changes of Manzai Acts in M-1 Grand Prix and the Manzai
Authors: Takuma Ino, Masashi Yamada
Abstract: Manzai is a type of traditional stand-up comedy in Japan. In most cases of manzai acts, two performers, a fool (Boke) and a straight man (Tsukkomi), trade jokes at a high speed. Most of the jokes revolve around mutual misunderstandings, double-talk, puns and other gags. In the last two decades, manzai has become very popular thanks to two contests, M-1 Grand Prix and THE MANZAI. Both contests reward the best manzai duo for that year. M-1 Grand Prix was held between from 2001 to 2010 and from 2015 to the present, whereas THE MANZAI was from 2011 to 2014. In the final stage of the contests, several manzai duos, who won the proceeding phases of preliminary rounds, perform manzai on stage, and a panel of judges rates their manzai acts, then the best manzai duo is decided. In 2021, the number of the contestants increased to over 6,000 duos, and now, an iconic comedian and active manzai performers are criticizing the styles and techniques in recent manzai acts. In the present study, 249 manzai acts performed by the finalists on the stage of the M-1 Grand Prix and THE MANZAI were investigated to clarify how manzai styles have changed in the last two decades. Numbers in the factors of styles and types of Tsukkomi, styles and types of Boke, and structure of manzai were counted for each year, and a 19 x 174 cross-tabulation table was constructed. Then, this table was analyzed using correspondence analysis and cluster analysis. The results of the correspondence analysis showed a two-dimensional solution with the cumulative contribution ration of 36 %. The results of the cluster analysis on this two-dimensional plane showed that the manzai acts were divided into three periods, the early period of M-1 Grand Prix, the period of THE MANZAI and the late period of M-1 Grand Prix. The results also showed that the manzai acts tended to use skits and Tsukkomi developed the plots, in the early period of M-1 Grand Prix. Then, both Tsukkomi and Boke gradually came to use various skillful techniques, and the number of manzai acts increased where the Boke develops the plot. In this way, it was clarified how the styles of manzai changed and the variation of the style and types increased in the last two decades.
Keywords: Manzai, Japanese stand-up comedy, Correspondence analysis, Cluster analysis
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