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Japanese comics have been translated into English and other languages by the hundreds, but overseas publishers have long overlooked one of the biggest local genres: gag manga. Their usual excuse is that Japanese humor, which relies heavily on untranslatable wordplay and cultural in-jokes, doesn’t travel well.

But on the evidence of Daigo Matsui’s “Afuro Tanaka (Afro Tanaka),” a laugh-till-you-hurt comedy based on Masaharu Noritsuke’s award-winning gag manga, they are missing out on some comic gold.

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