Insult Comedy Goes International as Tokyo Roast Battle Takes on Shanghai

Tokyo Vs Shanghai in a stand-up competition guaranteed to make the authorities rise up in anger and amusement.

Competitive insult comedy takes a huge step forward as Tokyo Roast Battle squares off against the Shanghai League in Asia’s first ever international Roast Battle competition, the winning city taking home the inaugural Chalice of Malice trophy.

Shanghai will be represented by three comedians flying in for  the show. The card is headlined by Fukuoka TV personality and Japanese Champion Bobby Judo (USA), who faces stand-up comic and Shanghai tournament winner Eric Alexander (Canada) to determine who will become the first East Asia Champion.

Note: To really get into the spirit of Chinese comedy, facial recognition technology will be employed at the venue to see who laughs at the Red China jokes, so they can be rehabilitated at at a later date. Visitors from Hong Kong can get masks at the front desks but are not allowed to vote. Any jokes pertaining to Japan’s Conspiracy Laws should be reported to the Abe Cabinet Intelligence office after the show.

Roast battle is a 7 year old comedy format that originated at the World Famous Comedy Store and is now being performed all over the world. Comedians go head to head in hilarious insult battles reminiscent of rap battles, only much funnier & meaner. Roast Battle has had 3 successful seasons on Comedy Central and has spawned spinoffs in the UK & Canada. 

Tokyo Roast Battle (TRB) was founded by Canadian comedian JJ Wakrat in 2017. Although there had been a handful of one night tournaments and events in Asia. TRB was the first league of its kind. It has been very well received in straight-laced Japan, selling out every single show to date.

According to JJ, what makes this show so special is how it embraces diversity without pulling any punches. “This show is super intense. It’s just about the least polite thing you can witness in Japan. But what makes it work is the love and affection the comedians have for their opponents”.

Regular shows and tournaments have since been promoted in cities like Shanghai, Bangkok, Saigon, & Singapore. With the growing popularity of Roast Battle, it was inevitable that some form of International competition would develop. Tokyo Roast Battle: Shanghai vs Tokyo is the first Intercity friendly match, but certainly not the last.  An All-Asia Invitational tournament is planned for the spring with Roast Battle on Comedy Central Season 2 Champion Frank Castillo set to judge.

Tokyo Roast Battle: Shanghai vs Tokyo takes place October 18th at Good Heavens in Shimokitazawa. Reserving tickets ahead of time is strongly recommended: www.tokyoroastbattle8.peatix.com

Full Fight Card

Main Event: (3 rounds)

TV Host Bobby Judovs Eric Alexanderfor the East Asian Roast Battle Championship.

Co Main Event: #1 Contender bout (3 rounds)

2 Time Tokyo ChampionBill Millervs Shanghai Roast Battle finalist Gene George.

Tokyo comedy legend Vinay Murthymarks his Roast Battle return against Shanghai show-runner Dan R. in a tit-for tat shootout. 

Tokyo Closet Ball founder Tatiana faces off against Vietnam’s Stefani St. Sl*t in Asia’s first ever Drag Queen battle.

Venue

Good Heavens British Bar Tokyo (SHIMOKITAZAWA)

Address:5丁目-32-5 Daizawa, Setagaya, Tokyo 155-0032

Time & Date 

Friday, Oct 18 @ 8:30. 

Promoter

Stand Up Tokyo

Contact

jjwakrat@gmail.com 

Tickets:

www.tokyoroastbattle8.peatix.com

Who really wrote Henry Stokes’s revisionist history book? More questions.

The Japan Times wrote yesterday:

Journalist now stands by Nanjing book

Former New York Times Tokyo bureau chief Henry S. Stokes is standing by a claim made in his new book that the Nanjing Massacre never took place, describing the event as a “propaganda tool of the KMT government.”

Kyodo News reported Thursday that Stokes’ book, titled “Eikokujin Kisha ga Mita Rengokoku Sensho Shikan no Kyomo (“Falsehoods of the Allied Nations’ Victorious View of History, as Seen by a British Journalist”), contained “rogue passages” that didn’t reflect the author’s view of the event.

The news agency accused translator Hiroyuki Fujita of adding lines to “fabricate” Stokes’ denial of Japan’s wartime responsibility for the 1937 Nanjing Massacre. 

The headline is slightly misleading in that Henry Stokes did not talk to the Japan Times for the article–the person accused of tampering with the contents did. I have spoke with Henry about the book as it is and what he thought it was and he expressed that he troubled by inaccuracy and things taken out context. However, I can understand the circumstances in which Henry feels compelled to follow the party line of his “translator”.  After one man-to-man conversation about the book this month,  the next time I approached Henry to discuss the contents he whispered, “Fujita is here.” I’m not sure what to make of that. I also find it hard to believe that Mr. Stokes’s would deny the existence of the Nanjing Massacre after stating that China’s War with Japan, 1937-1945: The Struggle for Survival by Rana Mitter was a “trustworthy” account of the incident. He has also said as much in an interview with VOICE magazine.

After reading the Kyodo News story, I sent Mr. Fujita and the publisher a number of questions.

Here is Mr. Fujita’s reply at 9:53 pm on May 8th. It raises more questions.  Dear readers, what do you think?

Dear Mr. Adelstein,

Thank you for your e-mail in Japanese. 
Let me briefly comment.

1. Henry and I sat for recording over 200 hours, of which I recorded over 160 hours or so. 1 entire IC recorder and 1 another. I wasn’t just listening to his talking. We debated various issues and points. We agreed a lot of points. We did not agree on some points.
Out of 252 pages, 250 pages are exactly what Henry said, I am sure. 2 pages equivalent may have some additional filler of mine to link bits and pieces of ideas together as one topic or for the flow for the reader. I am sure that is acceptable and Henry permit my so doing.

2. You seem to think that Henry’s ideas are distorted to “right-wing” tone, but I do not think it is correct. The reason is because, as I said, 250 pages are all Henry’s idea, NOT MINE, There are points in the book I do not agree or my ideas are slightly different. If I were expressing my own idea, the contents would have been different.

3. Kyodo News questions about the last 2 lines of Chapter 5. Henry said his idea is different. I insisted that is my understanding of what he said. After Kyodo interview we discussed the difference and came up with the below statement:

(About 3 lines prior to the last 2 lines) From this, it is clear that the so-called “Nanking Massacre” never took place. “Massacre” is not the right word to refer to what happened. Moreover, it was originally a propaganda for the KMT government.

The original Japanese was: “From this, it is clear that  “Nanking Massacre” never took place. It was a propaganda KMT government fabricated.”

Henry pointed out very subtle difference between what he really wanted to say and how I translated (or interpreted) his message. When it comes to writing, he is that specific.

4. There may be some misinterpretations of mine regarding what he said. Nonetheless, Henry will have responsibility for whatever written in his book in Japanese as the author of the book.


All the best,
Hiroyuki Fujita

 

This email, which remarkably resembles the publisher’s statement issued under Henry Stokes’s name, was sent to me one day before Mr. Stokes seems to have changed his mind.  When Mr. Fujita and Mr. Stokes “came up ” with a statement—I wonder what that means? The publisher sent me the following statement, informing me on 6:15 pm May 9th, that Stokes had written his view and they had been uploaded onto the website with a translation of the English statement that evening.

It seems that Mr. Stokes’s statement resembles Mr. Fujita’s email somewhat. It is also unusual in that Mr. Stokes’s refers to himself in the third person as “the author” several times while only in one sentence does the word “my” appear. So who really wrote it? Is it Henry? Is it a collaboration? Who is “my” opinion?

お返事が遅くなり、申し訳ありません。
お問い合わせの件ですが、昨夜共同通信から本書の製作過程における疑念の記事が 配信されました。それについてストークス氏が見解を作成し、夕方、祥伝社のHPにアップされています。
その内容が、お尋ねについての回答になろうかと思いますので、その文面と日本語訳をお送りします。
よろしくお願いいたします。

The Note from the Author

  1. Various reports based on Kyodo News are wrong and they do not reflect the author’s opinion.
  2. The cross-head of Kyodo News which says “Best-seller translator added lines to deny Nanking Massacre without author’s consultation” is not true.
  3. The report which says the author and the translator, Hiroyuki Fujita, lacked communication regarding book contents is wrong and far from the truth.
  4. It was reported by Kyodo News that the last 2 lines of the Japanese translation of Chapter 5 regarding what happened in Nanking on December 1937 did not reflect the author’s view. The Kyodo News made a big deal out of it.
    The author’s opinion is: The so-called “Nanking Massacre” never took place. The word “Massacre” is not right to indicate what happened. It was orginally a propaganda tool of the KMT government.
  5. The above statements are all based on my opinion.
    The publisher, Shodensha, and the author agreed that we have no need to make any corrections for the 2 lines in question at this stage.

May 9, 2014

The author

Henry Scott Stokes (Signature)

 

Note. It should be noted that Henry cannot read Japanese, although he can read some basic words. It is not clear that an English translation of the book was given to him to fact-check or read before the book was published. In other words, while the book is in his name, he does not seem to know the contents verbatim. 

Bad News: Mysterious Smog (煙霧) Eats Tokyo ★ Good News: It’s Summer?!

March 10th, 17:35 (Tokyo) 

According to the Meteorological Agency, Tokyo temperatures today reached 25.3 degrees Celsius making it the earliest “summer day” since readings began in 1876. At the same time, a strong wind from the North filled the air with dust, making visibility less than 10 kilometers, due to “The Smog Of Unknown Origins.”

Tokyo is wrapped in a yellow haze today as the "Smog From Nowhere" (出所不明な煙霧 )envelops the city
Tokyo is wrapped in a yellow haze today as the “Smog From Nowhere” (出所不明な煙霧 )envelops the city

Some are blaming it on a sandstorm (黄砂/kosa) contaminated with pollution emanating from China.

The Meteorological Agency speculates that the smog in Tokyo was caused by the cold weather front moving south, along with strong winds pulling up dust from the ground. (I actually have no idea how that makes any sense but I’m not a meteorologist.)

In West Japan, Tokaido and the Hokuriku areas, a sandstorm has been detected, which believed to have originated from China, containing PM2.5 (polluted particulate matter). The levels detected exceed Japan’s acceptable pollution standards. The Ministry of Environment has not yet raised those acceptable pollution levels, probably because they are not caused by a huge Japanese corporation like Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).

The Skyline at 17:30 Pm Tokyo (From Hibiya)
The Skyline at 17:30 Pm Tokyo (From Hibiya)

The forecast for damage control is this: as long as the smog can be blamed on China and not Japanese pollution, than people will be very upset. In addition, the Japanese government will not loosen pollution standards as they did with acceptable levels of radiation after Fukushima.

The question of whether the smog is a natural phenomenon or a gift from our friends in China, is also expected to be hotly debated, with a probably huge influence in twitter traffic and possible far-reaching influences on anti-China sentiment.

In the meantime, it is suggested to wear glasses and a mask when going outside; it is suggested that you use a yellow or sepia filter when taking photos of the smog, to make it look even worse that it is, for dramatic effect. Whenever possible, cough loudly, rub your watery eyes, and complain about China for added emphasis.

The situation is improving but still dire as of 8pm Tokyo Time. This isn’t the first time Tokyo has been swallowed up in a sandstorm of unknown origin. In fact (not really), it was the subject of a little known Jimi Hendrix song written after his visit here in 1998 (in an alternative universe.)

Yellow Haze (sing to the tune of Purple Haze) 

Yellow haze in Toe-kee-oh

Sandstorm from China? Hey, maybe so

Eyes are bleeding and I know why

’Scuse me while I chew the sky

 

Yellow haze all around

It’s dark but the sun ain’t down 

Chinese pollution PM Twenty-Five

Beijing air gives me hives

 

Yeah

Yellow haze all in my eyes

GOJ just tells us lies

You’ve got me blowin, blowin my nose

Clear air? Where did you go?

 

Help me! I need a mask

Yellow haze done kick my ass

Oh yeah help me…(repeats, hacking cough sounds)