Spark by Naoki Matayoshi – Book Review

Spark by Naoki Matayoshi – Book Review


Tokunaga is a young comedian struggling to make a name for himself in Osaka, when he is taken under the wing of the more experienced, but no more famous, Kamiya. But as much as Kamiya’s indestructible confidence inspires him, it also makes him doubt the limits of his own talent, and his own dedication to comedy.

Winner of the prestigious Akutagawa Prize, Spark is about art and friendship, about what it means to be committed to our own ambitions and to each other. A novel about comedy that’s as moving and thoughtful as it is funny, it’s already been a sensation in Japan.


Firstly, Manzai is Japanese stand up comedy, but it’s not about jokes. It’s about word play and deliberate misunderstandings between the two comedians. A straight man and a funny man.

Spark is the tale of Tokunaga, one of the Sparks manzai duo. He wants to be a better comedian, so when he meets the enigmatic Kamiya he persuades him to take him on as an apprentice, a Kohai. This is the story of their escapades.

I found this to be a really touching story of friendship, it’s ups and down and ultimately of love and respect. It’s funny and emotional too at times.

While this is a short read, it is well written with great characters and really packs a lot in. It speeds along with so much to keep you thoroughly engaged and entertained from start to finish.

Thank you to Poppy at Pushkin Press for a free copy of Spark. This is my honest and unbiased review.


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