Tennis is the one thing that has been conclusively demonstrated to make Tezuka happy, occasionally even to the point of smiling (9). We hypothesized that if tennis alone could make him smile, victory in tennis matches might be enough to make him laugh. Preliminary data from regional matches failed to support this hypothesis, but we believed that victory at Nationals would have a different effect, as it would be the achievement of a goal Tezuka had been worked toward for several years (10).
The design of this experiment was quite complicated, as it required the control of many variables, both within the tennis club and in the larger junior high tennis world. We found this control impossible to achieve, but we were lucky enough to obtain the desired conditions despite these difficulties. Seigaku faced Rikkai Dai Fuzoku in the finals at the National Junior High Tennis Tournament and won thanks to Tezuka's victory in singles one.
No objective measure for emotional response exists, but observers described Tezuka's immediate reaction to this victory as "shocked", "relieved" and "expressing less excitement than a piece of toast", none of which bear any resemblance to amusement. At this stage, we began to suspect that it was not, in fact, possible to induce laughter in Tezuka. Certain personality types appear to be incapable of laughter (11), and although they are rare, we had to allow for the possibility that Tezuka might fall into this category. There is no reliable test for this condition, so there was no way to determine whether it was worth continuing our experiments, and we began to consider abandoning this avenue of research for a more readily testable hypothesis.
The National tournament concluded with a ceremony in which trophies were awarded to the winners. Upon receipt of the first-place trophy, Tezuka exhibited a slight smile response, lasting an unprecedented 23 seconds, but failed to proceed to laughter. When he regained his customary serious expression, Kikumaru Eiji spoke to him. The exact wording has been debated among witnesses, but the nearest approximation we could obtain is, "Ne, Tezuka. We just won Nationals. You could at least pretend to be happy."
Tezuka responded with a brief smile before saying, "I am happy". "Then show it," Kikumaru replied, administering a poke to Tezuka's right shoulder. Then, finally, Tezuka laughed, a chuckle that lasted for approximately 4 seconds, meeting the ILC standards for laughter (12). Thus, we can conclude that, despite significant previous evidence to the contrary, under the right conditions, even Tezuka Kunimitsu can be made to laugh.9. Inui, S. (2005). "That one time Tezuka actually smiled". Journal of Momentous Occasions. Volume 4, pp. 36-40.
10. Oishi, S. "Stuff Tezuka has told me". Oishi's Personal Journal That Inui Really Shouldn't Be Reading. Volume 2, pp. 1-98.
11. Sengoku, K. (2004). "What's with that Kabaji guy anyway?". Journal of Bizarre Character of the Junior High Tennis World. Volume 312, pp. 6-23.
12. "Toward a clearer definition of laughter for use in vitally important scientific research". Proceedings of the International Laughing Committee. Volume 1, pp. 1-19.
The authors would like to thank the members of the Seishun Gakuen tennis club, especially Oishi Shuichiroh, Kikumaru Eiji, Echizen Ryoma and Fuji Syuusuke for carrying out these experiments despite the significant risk of death having to run laps. We would also like to thank Amane Hikaru, Akutagawah Jiroh and Kabaji Munehiro for their help with individual experiments, and Ryuuzaki Sumire for supporting our research. We would like to credit the Rikkai Dai tennis club for providing us with the favorable conditions necessary for Nationals-induced laughter and extend our condolences for their loss.
And, most importantly, we would like to thank Tezuka Kunimitsu for participating in this study and encourage him to continue to demonstrate his sense of humor by not making us run laps after the publication of this article.