The Laughing Salesman

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The Laughing Salesman
The Laughing Salesman Manga Cover.jpg
Volume 1 of the manga The Laughing Salesman.
(Warau Serusuman)
GenreDark comedy, fantasy, psychological thriller[1]
Written byFujiko A. Fujio
Published by
ImprintChuko Bunko
Original run19681971
Anime television series
Directed by
Produced by
  • Sōichi Besshi
  • Seitarō Kodama
  • Hiroshi Inoue
Written byYasuo Tanami
Music byKōhei Tanaka
StudioShin-Ei Animation
Original networkTBS
Original run Original Run
October 10, 1989 –
September 29, 1992
December 26, 1992
December 28, 1993
Episodes127 (List of episodes)
GenreVisual Novel
GenreVisual Novel
PlatformSega CD
Released17 September 1993
Television drama
Directed by
  • Mitsuo Ezaki
  • Takahito Hara
  • Hiroshi Ikezoe
  • Gō Nakajima
  • Kyōji Mafune
Produced by
  • Fumio Igarashi
  • Masaru Takahashi
  • Gō Nakajima
Written by
Music byKōji Endō (e-KLAY 1999)
StudioCosmic Utopia Corporation
Original networkTV Asahi
Original run June 26, 1999 September 18, 1999
Anime television series
The Laughing Salesman NEW
Directed byHirofumi Ogura
Written by
  • Naohiro Fukushima
  • Asami Ishikawa
  • Midori Natsu
Music byKōhei Tanaka
StudioShin-Ei Animation
Licensed by
Original networkTokyo MX, Yomiuri TV, BS11, Animax
Original run April 3, 2017 June 19, 2017
Episodes12 (24 segments) (List of episodes)
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and manga portal

The Laughing Salesman (Japanese: 笑ゥせぇるすまん, Hepburn: Warau seerusuman) is a Japanese manga series created by Fujiko A. Fujio. The manga began as a one-shot series serialized in Shogakukan's Big Comic magazine on 1968, later becoming a full-fledged series published by Jitsugyo no Nihon Sha's Manga Sunday magazine from 1969 to 1971. The manga tells the story of a salesman named Moguro[a] Fukuzou, whose job is to help people fill gaps in their soul. In reality, he often ruins the lives of his clients if they do not follow his strict instructions or if they betray his trust.

It is notable in Japan as the only series by the duo, Hiroshi Fujimoto and Motoo Abiko, to be darker and more mature in its themes than their previous works. An anime adaptation was produced by Shin-Ei Animation, directed by Toshirō Kuni and written by Yasuo Tanami. It aired on TBS from October 10, 1989 to December 28, 1993 with a total of 127 episodes. A second anime adaptation was announced and aired on Tokyo MX from April 3, 2017 to June 19, 2017.


Society is filled with people who struggle through their lives or never achieved their goals. The stories in the series focus on individuals who meet a shadowy and ominous salesman called Moguro Fukuzou (喪黒 福造). Moguro promises to "fill your empty soul" and give them a better life, if they follow his advice or agree to his conditions. However, once Moguro's clients begin to enjoy the fruits of their new life, they often breach their conditions, betray his trust, or deny that they received assistance at all. When this invariably happens due to their avarice, greed or selfishness, Moguro punishes his clients by using their reliance on his aid against them. With their lives ruined, he believes that they have been justly rewarded and he looks for more potential clients that he can help in a similar way.

The names of Moguro's clients are often puns on their situation or predicament, or refer to aspects of Japanese culture or history. For example in Episode 18, the name of the client, Urashima Taichi, alludes to the legend of Urashima Tarō, a type of Japanese Rip Van Winkle.



Co-creator Motoo Abiko first created the manga as a one-shot called The Black Salesman (黒イせぇるすまん, Kuroi seerusuman) in Shogakukan's Big Comic magazine in 1968. However the manga was deemed too scary for the publisher, and he ended up publishing the work in Jitsugyo no Nihon Sha's Manga Sunday magazine from 1969 to 1971.

A bilingual (Japanese-English) volume has been released as The Salesman Returns (帰ッテキタせぇるすまん, Kaettekita seerusuman).[2] It is published by Jitsugyo no Nihon Sha, Ltd.[3]


An anime adaptation of the manga was produced by Shin-Ei Animation and aired as part of the 1989 – 1992 Gimme a Break variety show on TBS from October 10, 1989 to September 29, 1992 and later continued as 2 hour specials which aired from December 26, 1992 to December 28, 1993. It was directed by Toshirō Kuni and written by Yasuo Tanami, while Kōhei Tanaka composed the music. The opening song is titled Kodoku no Uta (孤独の唄, lit. Song of Loneliness) while the ending is titled Kokoro no Uta (ココロの唄, lit. Song of the Heart), both performed by Tomio Umezawa.

A DVD boxed set of the series was released by Pony Canyon on March 20, 2013. The anime has also been digitally remastered and released on various video on demand streaming services in Japan.

Video games[edit]

Compile released the first video game based on the series for the MSX2 in Japan in 1991.

A Visual Novel of the series was released on the Sega CD in Japan on September 17, 1993. It was also developed by Compile and published by Sega, adapting three episodes of the anime. In the game, the player can change the outcome of the events of the customer. If the player makes the right choices, the customer can have a happy ending. However, if the player makes the wrong choices, the customer will get the bad ending just like in the anime.

Fukuzou Moguro makes an appearance as a guest character in the 2012 game Girls RPG Cinderelife developed by Level-5 for the Nintendo 3DS.[4]

Live-Action Drama[edit]

A live action adaptation was produced by TV Asahi, which stars Shirō Itō as Moguro Fukuzou. It aired from June 26 to September 18, 1999.


In June 1999, the manga sold more than 3.5 million copies in Japan alone.[5]


  1. ^ "Mokoku" earlier in the manga.


  1. ^ Chapman, Paul (April 3, 2017). "Crunchyroll Streams "Alice & Zoroku" and "The Laughing Salesman"". Crunchyroll. Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  2. ^ "英語コミックス-帰ッテキタせぇるすまん(実日イングリッシュコミック) (The Salesman Returns)". Amazon (company).
  3. ^ "英語コミックス 帰ッテキタせぇるすまん". Jitsugyo no Nihon Sha, Ltd. Retrieved 2019-11-15.
  4. ^ Loo, Egan (2011-10-16). "Sailor Moon's Tuxedo Mask/Kamen Joins Level-5's Girls RPG". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2017-01-05.
  5. ^ 「世紀末のココロのスキマお埋めします「笑ゥせぇるすまん」テレ朝系でドラマ化」『Yomiuri Shimbun』1999年6月22日付東京夕刊、9面。

External links[edit]