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This is a description of a comedy premise where a track athlete con-artist uses a stopwatch to time some kind of track record and says, "You're 「日本新」". Calling someone「日本新」is described as a method for a con-artist to fool people because of their weakness for the word.

中でも途中で現われた、「陸上選手」詐欺師というのが、鮎子には可笑しくて仕方がなかった。首から下げたストップウォッチで、何かというと記録を計り、「日本新ですよ、あなた」と客を煽てて、騙そうとするのだ。人間は、「日本新」という言葉に弱い、という妙な理屈から考案した詐欺商法らしいが、そのくだらなさが愉快だった。

Can you explain the meaning or double meaning of 「日本新」 in this comedy premise? What is the "trick" that hinges on this word?

I'm guessing it has something to do with にほんしん and 日本人 sounding similar, but I'm not sure what it means by the strange logic of people having a weakness for the word.

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日本新 is shortened version of a word 日本新記録, which means new Japanese record.

  • Thanks. That answers the question. From that understanding, I think the con-artist is tricking people into buying something by preying on their vanity by pretending they set some kind of new record. Please let me know if there is more to it than that. – Yeti Mar 28 '16 at 17:36
  • I first hear 「陸上選手」詐欺師. I think the scam is as you say but I wonder if there are the people who fall victim to a scam because people can't make new Japanese record easily. – Yuuichi Tam Mar 28 '16 at 18:14

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