For Comedian Yuki Nivez, Japanese Comedy Has Some Issues

Unseen Japan
7 min readFeb 26, 2024

In the wake of a famous entertainer being accused of harassment, Tokyo-based standup comedian Yuki Nivez discusses the type of comedy she wants to see in the world.

By Yuki Nivez

Growing up in Japan, I wasn’t exactly interested in our local brand of comedy. It wasn’t just that I wasn’t interested, though; I also didn’t really “get” much of the comedy I was exposed to. My thought process when watching comedy often went something like this:

“Why are those women being groped? What’s funny about being violently unclothed by male comedians (playing stereotypical ‘perverted’ characters)? Is that the entirety of the joke? Why is dressing and acting ‘gay’ automatically supposed to be humorous?”

Wait… I Actually Love Comedy?

I didn’t quite get slapstick comedy either. So, being unable to laugh along with popular TV shows, I decided that I must not have a sense of humor.

I tended to maintain a straight face while everyone else around me was laughing. This gained me a few nicknames. But the thing is, it’s not like I didn’t like laughing or joking around.

I loved making my friends and my mom laugh with silly anecdotes. I just didn’t understand mainstream “comedy.” And I didn’t know much…