I'm reading through a book put out by a manga publisher (Tosuisha/冬水社 if it's relevant) in 1998 that's a compilation of interview questions given to different manga characters. One of the questions asked is 人生{じんせい}の中{なか}の汚点{おてん}(笑)を教{おし}えてください。If I understand the sentence right, it should translate to something akin to, "Please tell me/us about a time in your life you regret."

If that interpretation is correct, then what's the (笑) doing there? Skipping around to check out the various character answers, all the ones I've seen do seem to talk about some rather serious subjects, so it doesn't seem to be a joke question.

Here's an example page; the question in question is Q62.

enter image description here

  • 3
    Could you share the image of the page, and when was this published? This may be related to a certain net meme that caught on a decade ago, but it's hard to say something definitively with only this much of information.
    – naruto
    May 25, 2021 at 13:03
  • The initial book in the interview series was published June 24, 1998; I'll see if I can upload a picture of a page with the question in question.
    – eefara
    May 25, 2021 at 13:13
  • Who is the character in question, and in which manga? I feel as if that's key to any joke (perhaps a pun) that is being made? (assuming naruto's comment is not correct, which is probably a dangerous assumption!)
    – henreetee
    May 25, 2021 at 20:21
  • 1
    The same questions are repeated for all characters "interviewed", regardless of series. The magazine publishes shoujo manga, though I'm not sure if that's helpful or not.
    – eefara
    May 26, 2021 at 1:51
  • If I encountered this question reading the book, I would simply ignore (笑) and go on ahead without paying any attention to it. After reading your background description, I, as a native Japanese speaker, feels this sentence with (笑) quite weird. (笑) is, as you already know, the Japanese equivalent of LOL. Even before widespread use of it online, its meaning is the same: laugh. This means the interviewer has asked the question 人生の中の汚点を教えて下さい while laughing or with levity. I would say this is a case of bad language usage, from which you can learn nothing. So I would recommend you to ignore it.
    – user48754
    May 26, 2021 at 5:15

1 Answer 1


Sorry in advance for my unnatural English. If you don't understand what I'm saying, please point out my mistakes.
In addition this answer is just a guess. This is just my opinion.

As a native Japanese, I feel "人生の中の汚点を教えてください"(without (笑)) would be a very very rude question because it sounds like the questioner assumes the questionee has 汚点 in their life.
In addition, I somehow feel 汚点 is a harsh word. So "人生の中の汚点を教えてください" would not only be a rude question but also harsh one.

But with (笑), this question sounds little more playful. That's why the editor put (笑) ... I guess.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .