As Jerry Seinfeld says: "Jokes that require an explanation are never funny."

So, I want to do a wordplay on the pronunciation of = 日も. I've delivered it as such:

typical set-up:
(if written) 雨の日も、風の日も、靴の紐;

I've gotten nothing but blank stares. I explain and get perfunctory smiles.

I've tried pronouncing "日も" with a rising "も" and "紐" with a falling "も", but it is not working.

Is it possible to frame this wordplay to sound funny?
Does it need to be set-up differently?
Is it a pronunciation problem?

  • Off-topic question, but… you wrote a haiku with 5-5-5? – Earthliŋ Feb 16 '16 at 16:00
  • @Earthliŋ If they get to the point of counting the syllables in my faux haiku, I'd thing then that it is definitely not funny. But, maybe adding 2 extra syllables would make it funny. – konishiki Feb 16 '16 at 16:07
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    こりゃスベるわ・・ 季語もないし、リズムもない。川柳として書き直してみては? – l'électeur Feb 16 '16 at 16:07
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    Well, Japanese don't need to "count syllables" to recognize a 5-7-5 rhythm... – Earthliŋ Feb 16 '16 at 16:13
  • @Earthliŋ yeah. I think the vibe is similar to a limerick for native English speakers. – konishiki Feb 17 '16 at 3:39

It will never sound like a haiku because it doesn't follow the 5-7-5 pattern. Do you know how Japanese haiku are read?

What's worse, it lacks the "story". 靴の紐 was delivered all of the sudden, and we can't understand how it relates to the other part. If there were enough context, this theoretically would work as a joke. Oh, I found a real example:


So the author was spending many days worrying about his shoes. That makes the bold line a meaningful pun.

Without any context, I don't think I can make people laugh with this. But maybe you can do so if you perform very well taking advantage of being a foreigner. A professional native comedian may be able to turn this into a good gag in various ways (don't ask me how).

A 紐/日も "pun" would theoretically work on haiku/waka, too.


This is an actual waka from 古今和歌集 which uses a 掛詞 on 紐+結う+暮 and 日も+夕暮. Explanation here. (well, yeah, 掛詞 is not intended to be a laughable joke.)

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