In ancient times people usually said 'banzai, banzai'. But the kanzi 万歳, according to the context in dictionary, has two different ways of reading, banzai and manzai. So which one is correct in which circumstance or are they both acceptable, I can say either of them?

  • Historically, besides the 呉音 manzai, there was also the 漢音 banzei. – snailplane May 8 '15 at 8:48
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    Manzai is 漫才 for me. – Chocolate May 8 '15 at 9:14

ばんざい (banzai)

  • An interjection corresponds to "Hurray! Viva!".
    It's said to be an artificially coined reading to translate them after Meiji restoration.

まんざい (manzai)

  • A kind of traditional performance art.
    The ancestor of today's two-people stand-up comedy genre, which now only be written as 漫才, as @Choco refers.

  • One of traditional readings of the word means "ten thousand years" or "near-eternity", which you might only encounter while you're studying Classical Japanese.

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