What is Kamigata Comedy?

Engei is performed by one or a few performers. Kamigata Comedy is not a form of Engei. Rather it is categorized as a play. A group of performers play a story along with a script. In a part when the play wants to draw laughter from the audience, and humor gets so entwined in the play that it is difficult to differentiate from Manzai and other humorous performances, we call it Kamigata Comedy.
In the Edo period, amateur performers played a mime called niwaka as a sideshow of summer festivals. The mimes were developed and began to be played by professional mimes. First, parodies of kabuki were mainly performed, then social trends from newspapers came to be introduced. After the middle Meiji period, Soganoya Goro and Jyuro, who were formerly kabuki actors, produced “shin-kigeki (new comedy)”, aiming to produce a comedy play suitable for the new era while inheriting the features of niwaka. From then, many theatrical companies emerged and it developed. Shochiku Katei Geki, which capitalized on humorous yet sad plays of humanity, became Shochiku Shin Kigeki after World War II and enjoyed its golden age thanks to the popularity of actors including the 2nd Shibuya Tengai and Fujiyama Kanbi. Then, as if to counter it, Shin Kigeki, which pursued easy to understand and intense humor, came out and continues until this day.