It’s always impressive when a foreigner makes it onto the Japanese entertainment scene, especially the comedy circuit. 厚切りジェイソン, or “Thickly-Sliced” Jason, has been making waves on Japanese TV over the past few months.
Jason, an American, learned Japanese just like all of you did, and came to Japan in 2011 to work in the IT industry. He fell in love with Japanese comedy many years before while watching episodes of エンタの神様 – Gods of Entertainment. In Japan, while working full time, he decided to pursue his own comedy career. He enrolled in the Watanabe Comedy School towards the end of 2013. A year later, shortly after graduating, he appeared on famous comedian Ariyoshi’s TV show 有吉のお笑い大統領選挙 (Ariyoshi’s Comedian Presidential Election), and blew everyone away.
His skits revolve around learning Japanese kanji, and the massive frustration he has. Something any of you can relate to.
He takes on the angry role of why kanji are written the way they are, screaming “Why Japanese People?!!!!!” at every turn, and usually has the audience in a massive laughter.
A lot of his current act will hit close to home for you guys, as I even made a comic last year in October that covered the same thing. In other words, I really like him.
In just a few months after his debut he has been gaining major attention. He has appeared on numerous popular variety shows, and other entertainers are even copying his famous lines.
In February 2015, he made it as a finalist (as the first foreigner ever) on the R-1 Grand Prix (a major National comedy competition). Just last week he even appeared on an episode of エンタの神様, the show that originally got him interested in Japanese comedy.
It shows that there are no limits to what you can do when it comes to Japanese. Fluent Japanese foreigners are forging their own new paths in Japanese culture, TV, and entertainment.
Check out his sketches below:
Great work Jason.
In addition to your growing Japanese audience, you also have a lot of foreigner fans as well. I’m looking forward to seeing what direction you take your budding career.