And kanji with manga
Friday, July 2, 2021

nandeyanen

In Japanese, nandeyanen なんでやねん, meaning literally "why is [it]," is a phrase popularly associated with tsukkomi ツッコミ, the act of "retorting" and the comedian doing retorts in manzai 漫才, a type of comedy done by a duo where one says something stupid (the boke ボケ), while the other "retorts" by saying they're wrong or questioning them, sometimes physically hitting them, e.g. with a backhand slap on their chest.

なんでやねん!
Left: Buddha, ブッダ
Right: Jesus, イエス
Manga: Saint☆Oniisan, 聖☆おにいさん (Chapter 4, 初舞台)
  • Context: Jesus doing a tsukkomi on Buddha.
  • nandeyanen!
    なんでやねん!
    Why is [that]!

This phrase is in Kansai 関西 dialect, and Kansai is associated with manzai, so one can guess its popularity is due to manzai comedians from Kansai using it.

Meaning

The phrase nandeyanen is composed by three words:

In spite of the above, it seems the phrase's meaning is closer to nande da yo なんでだよ instead, with the yo よ particle being used to call the boke's attention, given that nande nanda is unusual. The synonymous phrase naze nanda なぜなんだ is more common.

Outside of Kansai, specially in manga and anime, the phrase is often used in reference to manzai and tsukkomi. For reference, some examples:

ちょっと「なんでやねん」ってつっこんで! え・・・? なんでやねん・・・ ガタガターー ぐはーーっ これくらいハデに受けた方がいいかな? なんでやねん
Manga: Azumanga Daioh あずまんが大王 (Volume 1, Page 29, 負けるもんか))
  • Context: a boke trains receiving a backhand slap tsukkomi in preparation to meeting an Osakan.
  • chotto "nandeyanen" tte tsukkonde!
    ちょっと「なんでやねん」ってつっこんで!
    [Try] doing a tsukkomi [saying] "why"!
  • e...?
    ・・・?
    Eh...?
  • nandeyanen...
    なんでやねん・・・
    Why...
  • gata gataaa
    ガタガターー
    *sound of chairs and desks falling*
    (onomatopoeia.)
  • guhaaa'
    ぐはーーっ
    Aaargh!!
  • {kore kurai hade ni uketa} hou ga ii ka na?
    これくらいハデに受けた方がいいかな?
    [Do you think] [it] would be better if [I] received [the tsukkomi] [reacting] this much showy? (literally.)
    • hade
      派手
      Showy. Gaudy.
    • Do you think I should react this extravagantly?
  • nandeyanen
    なんでやねん
    Why.
なんでやねん! なんでやねん!!
  • Context: a tsukkomi trains her backhand slap.
  • nandeyanen! nandeyanen!!
    なんでやねん!なんでやねん!!
    Why! Why!!

References

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