Japanese “Buddhist” Comedy

Years ago, when my wife and I were first married, we used to watch a famous sketch-comedy show on Japanese TV called めちゃ×2イケてるッ! (mecha mecha iketeru). It features a well-known comedy group, Ninety-nine, starring Okamura Takashi and Yabe Hiroyuki, and was really funny, but also pretty violent and naughty sometimes. We really enjoyed that show.

One recurring sketch (which is safe to watch around kids) is this one:

This sketch takes place as a pretend Buddhist temple called ウマイム寺 (Yummy Temple) and has a character named Gochisōsama. This is a clever word-play and takes some explanation. In Japanese, when you finish eating a meal, especially one that someone else made for you, it’s common to say gochisōsama deshita (ごちそうさまでした) where chisō (馳走) means a feast.

But gochisōsama also sounds like the name of a typical Buddhist deity in Japanese language. For example, Jizo Bodhisattva is ojizōsama (お地蔵様). Kannon Bodhisattva is kannon-sama (観音様), etc. So Okamura is playing the “Bodhisattva” of good food. Notice he is dressed like a Bodhisattva but his curly hair is actually pasta, etc.

Also this sketch has a game where the guest is blindfolded and eats a very small bite of something tasty. If he guesses what it is correctly, he can eat it. If not, the “monks” and “nuns” (all comedians from the same comedy group), eat it instead.

The song the sing is very cute (rough translation by me):

食べたい 食べたい おなかが減った。
Tabetai tabetai onaka ga hetta
I want to eat, I want to eat, I’m hungry.

目隠しした人、これ分かるかな。
Mekakushi shita hito, kore wakaru ka na.
You with the blindfold, do you know what it is?

ウマイ、ウマイ、ウマイ、ウマイ、ウマイ ゴッヂッソ。
Umai, umai, umai, umai, umai gocchiso.
Yummy, yummy, yummy, yummy, yummy feast.

ウマイ、ウマイ、ウマイ、ウマイ、ほっぺ 落ッチッソ。
Umai, umai, umai, umai, hoppe occchiso/
Yummy, yummy, yummy, yummy, it melts in your mouth.

ごちそう様 食わしたって、食わしたって
gochisōsama kuwashitatte, kuwashitatte,
Gochisōsama (Bodhisattva) let him/her eat, let him/her eat

(name)に 口あけて モグモグ ゴックンして当てろ。
(name) ni kuchi akete mogu-mogu gokkunshite atero.
(name), open your mouth, chew, swallow and guess what it is.

In this episode the guest was famous boxer Guts Ishimatsu (gattsu ishimatsu in Japanese) and he fails to guess all three times. The first food was ebifurai, the second caviar, and the third is matsutake mushrooms. Ebifurai and matsutake mushrooms are famous luxury foods in Japan, and we all know what caviar is, of course. 😉

Each time he fails, the crows sing the rest of the song like so:

ウマイ、ウマイ、ウマイ、ウマイ、ウマイ ゴッヂッソ。
Umai, umai, umai, umai, umai gocchiso.
Yummy, yummy, yummy, yummy, yummy feast.

ウマイ、ウマイ、ウマイ、ウマイ、ほっぺ 落ッチッソ。
Umai, umai, umai, umai, hoppe occchiso/
Yummy, yummy, yummy, yummy, it melts in your mouth.

(name) なんでわからへん
(name) nande wakarahen
(name), why didn’t you get it?

ウマイ (food)
umai (food)
tasty (food)

うますぎて、うますぎて、くいだおれちゃうよ。
umasugite, umasugite, kuidaorechau yo.
it’s so good, it’s so good, it’ll bring ruin upon yourself.

Very silly. 🙂 The phrase kuidaore (食い倒れ) is interesting. There’s really no good translation in English, but the idea is that you if you eat fine food all the time, you’ll end up poor and bring ruin upon yourself. Similarly, the phrase kidaore (着倒れ) means to waste all your money on fine clothes and bring ruin upon yourself. As the saying goes: 京の着倒れ、大阪の食い倒れ (kyō no kidaore, Ōsaka no kuidaore). This means in Kyoto, you can waste all your money on clothes, in Osaka, you can waste all your money on food.

Anyhow, it’s really fun to see how comedy and Buddhist culture mix. I don’t like religion when it is too serious, and people can’t laugh about it, so I like shows like this. 🙂

P.S. Speaking of wasting money on food, the caviar featured about is ¥50,000 for just 100 grams. That’s about $500 US for 100 grams. The matsutake mushrooms were ¥30,000 for a single mushroom or $300 US! 😮

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Author: Doug

A fellow who dwells upon the Pale Blue Dot who spends his days obsessing over things like Buddhism, KPop music, foreign languages, BSD UNIX and science fiction.

5 thoughts on “Japanese “Buddhist” Comedy”

  1. Thanks for sharing this, especially with the fine explanations & translation. It would be fun to watch, but I never would have gotten that. Well, maybe I would have guessed that the guy with noodle hair (Gochisosama?) was a pastafarian.
    Thank you ! Arigato!

    Like

  2. めちゃイケ、終わってないよー!まだやってる。このごちそうさまだけ最近、見ないだけだよ。

    Like

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