You might have heard the phrase or word “Dajare” as you spend time on the internet, especially if you're a fan of some Japanese art and Japanese advertisements. Before we get into different types of Dajare, let’s break down the word itself! Dajare is similar to the English word “pun.” Essentially it’s wordplay comedy. Dajare is also associated with Oyaji gyagu, which translates to “old man gags” that leans to old man jokes a.k.a DAD JOKES!
Just like the puns you are familiar with, it all has to do with sound; words or phrases that sound similar but are spelled differently. For a lot of these Dajare, different kanji characters are used to spell it out but, of course, they sound similar.
One of the most commonly used examples of Dajare is “A tangerine on an aluminum can”.
(arumi kan no ue ni aru mikan)
This translate to “A tangerine on an aluminum can.”
Now, where’s the joke? Let me explain -
“Arumi” (アルミ) means “aluminum” and “Kan”(缶) means “A can” so Arumi Kan = “An aluminum can”. Aru spelled as such “ある” means “Exist” and Mikan (みかん) means a “tangerine/orange”.
So here you can see how both can sound very similar like puns that you might be familiar with.
Arumi Kan and Aru Mikan.
Dajare are unique in their own way. As stated before, dajare comes from “oyaji gyagu” which is old man jokes/Dad jokes. These jokes aren’t meant to be gut-busters. Dajare runs on the lines of its so bad and so cringe that it becomes ART and that’s why Dajare is funny. Similar to things you would see on ice cream sticks or Laffy Taffy candy wrappers.
Why are we talking about Dajare? Well, we have the pleasure of working with a one-of-a-kind Dajare artist, ANRAKU! Anraku is an artist/painter whose style is nostalgic to classic Showa era Japanese advertisements mixed in with Dajare jokes. Let’s take a look at some of his work…
Ichigoichie is a Japanese proverb that translates to something like “Once in a lifetime”/”One time only.” More specifically, the proverb tells us that each moment in our lives is unique and once in a lifetime, so all encounters should be treasured. Here (right) you can see this artwork by Anraku where twin girls are holding up a giant strawberry in what seems like a circus-style poster. Let’s break down the Dajare here!
As mentioned “Ichigoichie” is a Japanese saying that reads as “Once in a lifetime” but, if you break up the word “Ichigo - ichie” you can learn that Ichigo also means STRAWBERRY IN JAPANESE, which explains the giant strawberry in the image. Further, each girl has a character in front of them. The left means “friend” and the right means “affection.” The text down the left side translates to “growing the fruits of encounters.” Ba dum psst!
Teibo Curry is one of Anraku’s latest works. Let’s see if we can break down the dajare here! Let's start with the green wording that’s the biggest! 堤防カレー this would translate as “TEIBO KARE” in Romaji. The easy translation here is “Kare” which is Curry.
TEIBO on the other hand is where the joke/pun begins. The word “Teibo” is used in Japanese to explain the reinforcement of a building, often “Super Teibo”. Teibo itself can mean embankment/levee. Think of a dam. Teibo can also be considered to sound like the word “TABLE” in English.
The wording above the curry in black, “あふれない幸せ” translates to “AFURENAI SHIAWASE” which means “happiness that won’t overflow,” referring to the curry in the bowl as the happiness and that the “Teibo” will prevent it from overflowing.
せき止める安全のかほり(top of the design) =
“The smell of safety”
Now that you've gotten a bit of insight into how Dajare works you can start to enjoy art by artists such as Anraku! Thank you for reading and we hope you’ve enjoyed this bite-size information. If you want to see more of his collections click on the image below!