Not including the index, the hardcover book from Doubleday & Company, Inc. comes in at 1,007 pages, and actually features 10,065 bon mots... jokes, witty stories, and a whole lotta clunkers that went over my head as a 10-year-old, and owing the date of origin on the jokes, goes over my head a fair bit today.
Still... there are some good jokes/scenarios that could be used by playwright to pad a scene or two.
The book was compiled and published in 1939 and then 1940 by Lewis & Faye Copeland... and then published again in 1965 by Doubleday. If it was re-released again, there's no other date on it.
For those of you who know me, there's no way I was 10 in 1965, so I can only assume this encyclopedia of jokes et al sat on a bookstore's shelf for quite a few more years after it was re-published.
Anyhow... needing a topic for today, and feeling lazy as I do every once in a while, I thought I would look up Japan/Japanese in the index to see if I could find a joke for you.
But the index showed nothing for Japan/Japanese.
On a whim, I flipped through the book until I found the "Races and Nations" chapter, and then flipped through to the "Other Nations" sub-section.
And there... there were two jokes.
The longer one was just so racist and stupid that I can't believe anyone thought it was good enough for a joke book - all it was, was "an essay by a Japanese schoolboy", and merely printed out bad spelling and writing of a Japanese person trying to write in English. No one talks or writes like that.... so I'll not bother you with it.
Instead, allow me to present the other joke... which isn't racist and I suppose holds up quite well for a 79-year-old + joke. I added the bracketed word.
The joke in case you happen to have a copy of the book, is joke #7,289.
One Japanese bragged to another that he made a (folding) fan last twenty years by opening only a fourth section, and using this for five years, then the next section, and so on.
The other Japanese registered scorn.
"Wasteful! he ejaculated. "I was better taught. I make a fan last a lifetime. I open it wide, and hold it under my nose quite motionless. Then I wave my head."
The joke could have substituted Spanish women for Japanese men, I suppose, but aside from the clipped language used in the joke to make it sound "foreign", the idea is that either someone thinks the Japanese are frugal/cheap or that 50% of them are stupid.
It was 1939.
But it's a joke. It's still kindda funny.
Andrew "The Ambulance Stopped With A Jerk And I Got Out" Joseph
PS: That's NOT my book in the photo at the top, but one I spotted for sale on Amazon.