Meaning: “to remember (something funny) and laugh”
For instance, if you laugh out of nowhere after you remember someone’s or even your joke, that’s 思い出し笑い.
I suddenly remembered something funny and laughed on a train, and was seen as a weird person by people around me.
作り笑い (つくりわらい)/愛想笑い (あいそわらい)
Meaning: “fake/courtesy laugh”
People often make “fake/courtesy laugh” when they’re trying to be nice and polite. For instance, you might do so when your boss says a lame joke or pun. The meanings of 愛想笑い and 作り笑い are almost the same, but 作り笑い is a “fake/feigned laugh” whereas 愛想笑い is more like a “courtesy laugh”. Therefore, when you make a fake smile in a picture, that is 作り笑い but not 愛想笑い, as it is not made to be polite to others.
I made a fake laugh so that I won’t spoil the mood.
苦笑い (にがわらい)/苦笑 (くしょう)
Meaning “a laugh in a bad/undesirable situation”
It literally means “bitter laugh”. You may do this when you make an embarrassing mistake in front of many people; when you fail to win a match/game; or when someone makes a sarcastic joke about you. Sometimes, 苦笑い can also refer to 愛想笑い, like a laugh you make after hearing a lame joke.
Commonly, it is used as “苦笑い/苦笑する” or 苦笑い/苦笑を浮(う)かべる”
I was told that the zipper of my trousers was open, and could do nothing but a “bitter laugh”.
Meaning “a half laugh”
For instance, you would make a half laugh when you hear a joke which is somewhat funny but not so much. Some people also make a half laugh when they scorn someone for making a mistake.
My boss said to me “This is wrong.” with a half laugh, and I was irritated.
Meaning “the first laugh (of the year)”
If you laugh for the first time in the year, that’s 初笑い. Every year, there are several manzai (double-act comedy) TV shows in early January that offer 初笑い to many Japanese people.
With our manzai, we will deliver your first laugh of the year on new year’s day!
Meanings of Onomatopieas
It refers to a happy, beaming smile.
It usually refers to a nasty, smirking and/or mean smile. You can also say ニタニタ, which sounds nastier and more repulsive than ニヤニヤ.
It describes a chuckle (quite/stifled laugh)
It usually describes a flippant and non-serious laugh/attitude, like saying sorry while smiling lightly. For instance, when a teacher scolds his/her students but they do not seem to take it seriously, he/she would say “ヘラヘラするな！”, meaning “Be serious!”
It describes a guffaw (loud laugh)