Can comedians Takashi and Saito-san use their power of alopecia for good, and get kids studying kanji?

Studying kanji, the Chinese characters that along with hiragana, katakana and bad English make up the Japanese writing system, can be really very interesting. Working out that volcano (火山) is a combination of the characters for fire (火) and mountain (山) is a genuine epiphany moment.

But the hours and hours, and more hours, of writing out kanji and learning the different ways to pronounce them in different contexts (oh look, another exception to the rule) is not exactly a barrel of laughs. If only there were a way to combine kanji practice and childish humour for Japanese kids, adults or even foreign learners to enjoy. Into that niche market, entered Professor Poo and a surprisingly large number of poo-based textbooks and even confectionary. But now the kanji poo business has dried up. What next? Baldness.

While not necessarily a laughing matter for sufferers, especially since it seems some Japanese women would refuse point-blank to marry a bald man, receding hairlines and barcode-esque comb-overs are the source of amusement that has been chosen for the next series of no-doubt very popular kanji drill textbooks.

This time the textbooks feature example sentences about Takashi and Saito-san, members of the popular comedy double-act Trendy Angel, who have made a career from joking (and rapping) about their own lack of hair, even winning the M-1 Grand Prix comedy event in 2015.

▼ Apparently you can flog a dead horse.
“1. Even if Saito-san were to be born again, he’d be bald.”
“2. Saito-san’s hair will never grow again.”
“3. Takashi is bald for life.”

It isn’t only the Japanese who laugh at the follicly challenged, we’re clearly no better, as the joke in my Christmas cracker last year had this to impart, “What did the bald man say when he got a comb for Christmas? Thanks, I’ll never part with it”.

The two textbooks are aimed at school children in their first and second years, aged around five or six, but given the popularity of the poo-themed kanji drills among adults, and the celebrity endorsement of Japan’s most popular baldies, these books may be the latest hit success in the puerile humour meets education boom. Of course it begs the questions, once you’ve run out of poo puns and baldy bawlers, what’s the next idea to be scraped out from the bottom of the barrel to get kids studying?

Source: PR Times
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: PR Times
[ Read in Japanese ]