This paper analyzes humorous comments created through a popular viewing-and-commenting system used in China and Japan, known as danmu (or danmaku). This system enables its users to superimpose anonymous comments on the video frame, which are displayed in subsequent viewing. We collected 327 user-selected ‘funniest’ screenshots of comments from danmu video sharing sites. Using content and discourse analysis, we re-contextualized the comments and identified main mechanisms of humor. Results show that speakers make fun of the plot, characters and of each other, relating to the video frame, Chinese culture and Japanese fandom. They rely on non-aggressive but rather playful teasing, allusions and retorts, and apply multimodal resources such as color, layout, and symbols to enhance the humorous effect. Our study contributes to the emerging research focus on multimodal humor (Yus 2016), social semiotics and a discursive approach to danmu-mediated communication.
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Cited by 6 other publications
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