Once in a while, a maverick who is eager to blaze a trail comes along in the entertainment world.

Tokyo- and Chicago-based stand-up comedian Saku Yanagawa considers himself just that — a world-traveling comic who delivers his unique, biting perspective shaped by life lived in Japan.

In a country where "the nail that sticks out gets hammered down" and political satire and commentary, especially on Japanese TV and in the mainstream media, are often frowned upon, Yanagawa is quick with the quip.