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Teenagers always think their jokes are funny, but are they? Apparently, at least one is — from a first-year high school student of Hyogo Prefecture, Yugo Sagawa, who won the first-ever comedy contest for high school students. A panel of judges from the Kansai Comic Scriptwriter Association chose Sagawa’s script for a manzai comic dialogue as the best. It is unlikely that comedy writing will be added to the high school curriculum anytime soon, but maybe it should be.

Sagawa’s win, and the contest itself, contrast with the usual depressing news about teenagers in Japan. Constant reports on bullying, suicide, juvenile crime and the school dropout rate reveal a country with kids in crisis. Amid all this gloom, Sagawa’s first prize stands as a beacon. Instead of spending his days cramming for entrance exams or worrying about social humiliations, he is writing funny scripts. Hats off to him!

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