You’ve all heard the joke about the sinking ship, right? This joke explicitly reveals the deep inner motivations of the men of many different nations. It’s famous for hitting the nail on the head when it comes to cultural stereotypes. Really, this joke knows you better than you know yourself. Popular in Japan, it also goes down a treat at drinking parties worldwide.
So, what is this joke that so accurately pinpoints cultural stereotypes? Here it is…
On a luxury cruise ship, the Titanic of Noah’s Arks if you will, every nationality in the world is represented on board. But suddenly the ship springs a leak and begins to sink. Sadly, there aren’t enough boats for everyone. The women and children have filled up all the boats, and the ship’s captain needs to persuade the men to jump into the sea. What does the captain say to each guy to make him jump?
To the American… “If you jump, you’ll be a hero!” (cue superman pose, and big splash)
To the Russian… “All the vodka was washed overboard, I can see the bottles floating past… if you’re quick you can grab it.” (glug glug glug)
To the Italian… “See that beautiful woman with the luxuriant underarm hair swimming past? You can really make a splash and impress her.”
To the French… “Please do NOT jump into the water.” Yep. Nice reverse psychology.
To the English… “At a time like this, a true gentleman would jump.”
To the German… “According to the regulations, all the men must jump into the sea.”
To the South African… “Before the braai we’re going for a swim.” Braai = ultimate barbeque.
To the Australian… “Don’t be a wuss, all your mates are down there in the drink.”
To the New Zealander… “Strap on this bungee cord- she’ll be right!”
To the Chinese… “Check out that juicy, delicious-looking fish over there. And the yummy fins on that shark.”
To the Japanese… “Everyone else has already jumped.”
To the South Korean… “The Japanese guy has already jumped.”
To the North Korean… “This is your chance to defect!”
To the guy from Kansai… “The Hanshin Tigers won!!!”
Okay, so the last words to the Kansai man are more to do with Japanese baseball, but doesn’t this capture the very essence of national identity? Japan denies all responsibility for this joke and says that a foreigner wrote it. What do you think? Do you feel your nation is adequately represented? If not, comment away and let us know.