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Joking in Tokyo

Like most comedians in Japan, 30-year-old Ike Nwala is an all-arounder. He does live shows with two different comedy troupes, appears on variety shows, and does commercials. He’s on TV just about every day, which is a typical workload for a rising star in Tokyo.

Probably the only atypical thing about Ike is that he’s black.

Ike got into Japanese comedy completely by accident. Raised near Seattle, the Nigerian-American had always intended to go into computer science, having taught himself programming while in elementary school. He continued taking courses in college, and then one day he wandered into a Japanese video rental store. Playing on the screen was a skit by Junji Takada, one of the most crude and surreal comedians ever. Full Story


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