Comic: American Sarcasm


OB_8_9 american sarcasm doctor japan

One of the interesting things about learning a new language is that you realize that you can’t directly translate sentences. There are some things that just don’t work in a different language. American sarcasm is one of those.

Instead, people just think I say mean things with a smile.


Like these comics? Check out my comic books (on Amazon):

My Japanese Husband Thinks I’m Crazy: The Comic Book


My Japanese Husband (still) Thinks I’m Crazy


Confessions of a Texan in Tokyo

About Grace Buchele Mineta

I got into the writing business by accident. Now I live in the countryside near Tokyo with my husband, Ryosuke, where I draw comics, blog, and make videos about our daily life. Contact: Website | More Posts

19 Comments on Comic: American Sarcasm

  1. I actually was thinking of how that would work a few weeks ago. I asked my dad if people who speak different languages have to use different tones of voices to use things like sarcasm, and he said probably. How do they use sarcasm in Japan? Oh and by the way, I just read both your books and I loved them! The comics you make are so cute and I learned much more about Japan then I would’ve from manga, haha. Do you know if your going to make another book on how your husband thinks your crazy? I’d read it right away if you did!

  2. I’m asian and loves to use sarcasm jokes
    Sadly my friends think I’m serious and insulting them… it’s sad.
    “Why so serious??”

  3. Marry an Osakan! They get it, and use it. Although differently. According to my Osakan husband they are the most proficient (and best) comedians in Japan!

  4. I have the exact same problem with my boyfriend and french language. The humor and sarcasm is so different, I completely abandoned the idea of telling black jokes or talking ironically ahah

  5. We use tons of sarcasm in France, it’s a very cultural thing.
    I guess sarcasm is being used in most western countries.
    And oh god that was something that I missed a lot in Japan. Sometimes I just wanted to say : “Why SO serious ?” haha
    I used to struggle a lot with one of my japanese ex’s years ago, that made me realize that you really can’t use sarcasm in Japan.
    Japanese poeple have been telling me that they do use sarcasm. But honestly, I have never met anyone that did use it in real life haha

  6. Sarcasm is hard to translate….Once a guy started flirting with me by asking, “Are you part Japanese?” And I just looked at him as if he were crazy. It took a minute to catch on that he didn’t actually think I looked Japanese, and was just trying to start a conversation.

    I feel kind of meh about sarcasm in general. It can feel like such a slap in the face when someone’s being genuine to snap back with something mean and then hide behind “Joking!”

  7. My sarcasm has been destroyed from living in Japan.
    When I try to use it now here, no one understands…
    or when people use sarcasm I think they are serious….

  8. Well its happen to me too.. I cant seems to use sarcasm at my office.. I wud laugh myself but they wud look at me awkwardly.. Lol

  9. Me and a Japanese friend who had lived in America for a while had to explain to a new transfer Japanese student about sarcasm. It was one of the hardest things to do! We tried to give him examples with some really funny (but ineffective) results and finally we were able to explain to him as this: “Its when you say the opposite of what you mean.” After that he caught on pretty quickly! Maybe try and explain it to your Japanese friends like that? :)

  10. Lolll I lived a similar experiences during my first trip to Japan. I was going to a concert with a japanese friend. It was in Sapporo and our flight back to Tokyo was on the same evening so we had to leave before the end of the concert. Since it’s my favorite group, first time seeing them my friend asked me just before arriving to the venue if I was ok that we had to leave at the encore. I said ”Yes but if Masuda get topless I might stay.”. I found it quite funny lol ….but my friend just looked at me being quite nervous because we really had to leave before the end. So I had to assure her that we would leave and that anyway they wont get topless in that kind of show. That is the kind of jokes I always make with my sister, but my japanese friend didnt understood I was totally joking lol.

  11. Sarcasm doesn’t translate at all. Relationships with Japanese girls was sometimes a bit difficult because I am very sarcastic and it was confused with negativity. I married the J girl who understood it and I am happy to say that after a few years… She gets it and uses it fluently.

  12. Well, at least she didn’t ask you if you see blue, do you see everything blue, like my students asked me in Taiwan.

    • What?! it´s hard to believe that nowadays young people would still ask something like that! Did they even pay attention during biology classes? :D

      • Well, the students I am referring to were only 4 or 5 years old at the time so I think it has more to do with being young and innocent!

        • Then I take back what I wrote…for me “students” refers to someone around 13-15 years old :) It is normal and cute for kids to ask that kind of questions…my sister is 4 and I wonder how she would react if she met someone of different race.

  13. Oh, that doesn’t work in Japanese? How does it come out in that language? Just serious and literal, or something else?

    • Anonymouse // 1 February, 2015 at 9:54 am //

      Most of the time it is taken seriously/literally. If you say something that is too bizarre if taken literally, then the person may just think that you messed up your Japanese.

      Regardless, sarcasm is used differently in Japanese and MUCH less frequently than in English, so I would recommend avoiding it altogether if you don’t want to get a reputation for being a rude a-hole. I speak from experience, unfortunately. Took me a couple of years to change my image among my classmates.

  14. I know sarcasm doesn’t work the same way in Japanese but I make my fair share of “black jokes” as husband says.

    Sarcasm is like an American language><

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