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Music and Comedy in the Films of Woody Allen

Binns, Alexander



Emilio Audissino

Emile Wennekes


Japanese comedy cinema is varied but often reshapes and draws heavily on the historical conventions of Japanese theatrical practice, especially Kabuki, as well as the traditions of manzai. It is, therefore, strongly embedded within the wider contexts of Japanese cultural practice. However, in the twentieth century such practices are also framed by a complex relationship with western culture and part of the distinctive comedic voice in Japanese cinema emerges from the musical play between western and Japanese cultural contexts and musical genres.
This chapter examines how the music in Japanese comedy cinema is productively read through a series of schematic lenses (subversion, parody and deflection). Each of these draws attention to the culturally situated function and effects of music and shows that the relationship between Japanese and non-Japanese musical associations is important to Japanese comedy cinema. It also illustrates how this process of musical tension between generic types enables the idea of comedy as a form of subversion to emerge. Indeed, much Japanese comedy cinema uses music in ways that introduce a subversive voice as a form of wider social critique and frequently this tension is framed musically as a dialogue between musical styles. This approach is not new, although its contemporary presentation suggests it is enduring. Likewise, comedy parody (including musical parody) can be found widely in Japanese cinema quite often in ways that purposefully balance the exotic or eccentric with the seemingly mundane. Takashi Miike’s The Happiness of the Katakuris (2001) exemplifies, among others, this approach because it draws on and exaggerates a wide range of Japanese cultural tropes but also because music is at the centre of its presentation of comedy.


Binns, A. (2023). Music and Comedy in the Films of Woody Allen. In E. Audissino, & E. Wennekes (Eds.), Palgrave Handbook of Music in Comedy Cinema (729-744). Palgrave Macmillan.

Online Publication Date Oct 25, 2023
Publication Date Oct 25, 2023
Deposit Date Dec 15, 2021
Publicly Available Date Oct 26, 2025
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Pages 729-744
Book Title Palgrave Handbook of Music in Comedy Cinema
ISBN 9783031334214
Public URL
Publisher URL
Contract Date Sep 15, 2021