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Share

  • By: Marguerite Wells
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture

Share, pronounced as two syllables, sha-re (sharray), is the general Japanese term for linguistic humor, wordplay, wit, elegance of diction. The most common meaning of the word is “decoration.” Oshare (with an honorific o-) means anything from dressed up, to elegance, or dandyism and foppery. Share therefore means elegance of speech or writing: thus anything from a simple pun to a tissue of poetic rhetorical flourishes. Today when Japanese people talk about Share meaning wordplay, puns of some kind are generally indicated. This entry discusses Share in Japan in both modern and traditional times.

The Japanese language is peculiarly well suited to puns but not at all to rhyme. Like the Polynesian languages, Japanese has a small number of phonemes and a consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel structure (CVCV), with ...

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