Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Kuso is the term used in East Asia for the internet culture that generally includes all types of and parody. The Mandarin Chinese word ''ègǎo'' is often used as a synonym or description of its meaning. In , means shit, and is often uttered as an interjection. It is also used to describe outrageous matters and objects of poor quality. This definition of kuso was brought into Taiwan in around 2000 by young people who frequent Japanese websites and quickly became an internet phenomenon, spreading to Hong Kong and subsequently the rest of China.


The roots of Taiwanese "kuso" was ''kuso-ge'''s from Japan. The word ''kuso-ge'' is a portmanteau of ''kuso'' and ''game'', which means, quite literally, "shitty games". The introduction of such a category is to teach gamers how to appreciate and enjoy a game of poor quality - such as appreciating the games' outrageous flaws instead of getting frustrated at them. This philosophy soon spread to Taiwan, where people would share the games and their comments on es. Games generally branded as kuso in Taiwan include ''Hong Kong 97'' and the ''Death Crimson'' series.

Because ''kuso-ge''s were often unintentionally funny, soon the definition of kuso in Taiwan shifted to "anything hilarious", and people started to brand anything outrageous and funny as kuso. Parodies, such as the Chinese robot Xianxingzhe ridiculed by a Japanese website, were marked as kuso. Mo lei tau films by Stephen Chow are often said to be kuso as well. The Cultural Revolution is often a subject of parody too, with songs such as ''I Love Beijing Tiananmen'' spread around the internet for laughs.

Some, however, limit the definition of kuso to "humour limited to those about Hong Kong comics or Japanese anime, manga, and games". Kuso by those definitions are mostly doujins or fanfictions. Fictional crossovers are common media for kuso, such as re-drawing certain bishōjo anime in the style of ''Fist of the North Star'', or blending elements of two different items together.

Original content plays a big part in kuso, with various webmasters encouraging people to "take part in creating Taiwan's kuso miracle". One famous example, ''Iron Fist Invincible Sun Yat-sen'', places Sun Yat-sen, Chiang Kai-Shek, Mao Zedong, and other influential historical figures of the time as martial artists in a wuxia setting.

The kuso culture runs deep in Taiwan, as some call it a remedy from stressful times. Many forums in Taiwan have discussion boards dedicated to the making and sharing of kuso. People engaging in a kuso conversation on the internet would refer specifically to various items of kuso, and often mimicking how characters in Hong Kong comics would talk. Flash mobs in Taiwan are often generated by this culture.

List of items generally accepted to be kuso

*Back Dorm Boys
*''Cho Aniki''
*''Circus Action''
*''Death Crimson'' series
*''Fist of the North Star
*''Grandpa You're Back''
*''Hong Kong 97''
*Hong Kong comics
*Hong Konger Front
*''Iron Fist Invincible Sun Yat-sen''
*Mo lei tau
*Stephen Chow movies, such as:
**''A Chinese Odyssey''
**''From Beijing With Love
**''God of Cookery''
**''Shaolin Soccer''

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