Would it be valid in casual Japanese conversation to use the term 不条理劇{ふじょうりげき} or 不条理演劇{ふじょうりえんげき} to describe a situation in which for example two parties A and B are talking to each other using nonsensical arguments or acting in illogical way in response to each other?

If not what other word might be used to describe such a situation?


You mean, to describe such nonsensical situations in general, rather than to actually talk about this kind of theatre? Then, no, I think most people do not recognize the word 不条理(演)劇, and I have never heard or seen "不条理劇みたいな会話をした" or something like that.

The first word that came into my mind to describe such a situation is シュールな, which is a loanword from "surrealism". I don't know the usage of this word in English, but Japanese people use シュール often (at least more often than 不条理な or ナンセンスな) to describe something nonsense yet funny, impressive but difficult to interpret. It's too difficult for me to fully convey the feelings of this word, but don't believe the dictionary definition and try googling シュールな会話 or シュールなマンガ.

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  • I agree that シュール is a good stand-in for what one might describe in English as a "theatre of the absurd". (FYI, English "surreal" would work pretty well in this context, too.) – senshin Oct 14 '15 at 18:14
  • That's exactly what I was asking for! Actually I heard 不条理劇 used by a Japanese person, but suspected it was used "especially" for me as I would understand the context. Additional question: out of three examples you used: シュールな ("surreal"), 不条理な ("like a theatre of absurd"), ナンセンスな ("nonsensical"). The latter has the most pejorative meaning, on the verge of being rude, like バカバカしい. Is using ナンセンスな in Japanese safe (not so much impolite)? – macraf Oct 14 '15 at 21:55
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    more on シュール usage for reference – macraf Oct 29 '15 at 21:08
  • ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/不条理演劇 wikipedia has an entry for "theatre of absurd" using 不条理. – 永劫回帰 Oct 30 '15 at 3:09

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