Kokkeibon (humorous book) (滑稽本)

Kokkeibon (humorous book) was a genre of gesaku literature (literary work of a playful, mocking, joking, silly or frivolous nature) in the late Edo period. In addition to yomihon (books for reading) and kusazoshi (illustrated story books mainly for women and children), it is one type of popular literature.

It refers to funny and comic stories, which came to be produced after dangibon (books of humorous sermons). Compared to the yomihon literature that focused on narrative and was full of kango (originally Chinese words and expressions), kokkeibon books were written in a simple style with many colloquial expressions, and they made ordinary readers laugh using techniques such as simple puns, words and deeds deviating from social norms, and indecent topics. While the yomihon books were printed in hanshibon (literally, "half book") format and relatively expensive, many kokkeibon books were printed in chubon (middle-sized, smaller than the hanshibon-format) format at a moderate price. Because kokkeibon did not require as much knowledge of kango and ability to structure a story as when writing yomihon, they were often written as a spare-time activity in circles and were even published in the provinces. This genre and the contemporary rakugo (comic storytelling) influenced each other, and sometimes a story from a kokkeibon was performed as a rakugo story with a witty punch line.

Major Literary Works
"Ukiyo-buro" (The Bathhouse of the Floating World, by Sanba SHIKITEI)
"Ukiyo-doko" (The Barbershop of the Floating World, by Sanba SHIKITEI
"Tokai dochu hizakurige" (Shanks' Pony along the Tokaido, by Ikku JUPPENSHA)

[Original Japanese]