“Gyagu” – The visual joke in Japanese culture

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In this article, we will see what anime, manga and images of the “Gyagu” (ギャグ) type are, a term usually translated as “Clown” or “Visual Joke”.

In Japanese culture, the importance of images and context is perceptible for a situation to make sense. In Japanese comedy, the role of images is fundamental to convey the real grace of situations.

When we see characters laughing extravagantly, making faces, wearing strange clothes or going through unexpected situations, we are usually faced with a “gyagu” (visual joke), which in many cases defines the Japanese humor within anime and manga.

Kuwabara kazuma, yusuke urameshi and yuu yuu hakusho anime #1144212 on animeher. With
Example of “Gyagu” scene. Anime: Yu Yu Hakusho.

Origin of the term

Gyagu (ギャグ) is a word originated from the English "Gag", which in free translation means "Joke, Joke, Gag".

In the context of Japanese pop culture, or even in the television advertisements (very hilarious by the way), Gyagu usually represents a mood transmitted visually, and can be either a static image or a longer gif or video.

Images are also often accompanied by words related to the situation, onomatopoeia and puns that serve to reinforce what is transmitted.

“Gyagu” style anime and manga

Danshi koukousei no nichijou – niji zine

There are numerous anime and mangas that have this visual style funny. This type of content is usually very successful among children, teenagers and adults who seek to relax and have a good time. laughs. Among the various series that follow this model we can mention: Tottemo! Luckyman, Hanasaka Tenshi Ten-Ten-kun, Gintama, Pop Team Epic, Osomatsu-San, Tensai Bakabon, Nichijou, among others.

To introduce yourself to this universe, we recommend that you start by watching Tottemo! Luckyman, one extremely funny old anime and which perfectly represents the gyagu style.

Below you can watch the opening:

Dictionary "Gyagu"

Interestingly, there is even a dictionary with the most common expressions related to this phenomenon. You can check by clicking in this link.


  • 冗談 (じょうだん, joudan) = Joke, Joke.
  • 洒落 (しゃれ, share) = Play on words.
  • ジョーク (jooku) = Joking, Joking.
  • ギャグ (gyagu) = Visual joke, Joke, Clown.
  • ギャグる (gyaguru) = Playing, Making fun.
  • 笑えるアニメ (waraeru anime) = Comedy anime.

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- “gyagu”: the visual joke in Japanese culture

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