If one were to survey Japanese films that have been distributed in America over the last thirty to forty years, certain patterns would form. Works from the great masters, historical epics, dramas, monster movies and of course horror have certainly been well represented for decades. But one genre that’s severely lacking is comedy. In 1985, Juzo Itami’s noodle-western TAMPOPO became a smash hit, playing to sell-out crowds for months. However, since that time there haven’t been many Japanese comedies to find their way into the cultural zeitgeist, but that’s not for lack of material.