Tag Archives: Japanese comedy

Fukushima Fallout: Comedian Akai Plutonium changes her stage name

Comedian Akai Plutonium (33) announced that she has changed her stage name, in light of the ongoing accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. From now one, she will be known as “Aka-Puru” (赤プル), which is a shortened version of her previous name (赤いプルトニウム).

She also declared that she is doing charity activities to support the disaster relief efforts, such as her participation in a charity comedy event on March 20. She said that she plans to donate clothing and other goods to the heavily damaged city of Ishinomaki, Miyagi, where her friend lives.

Aka-Puru is originally from Ibaraki, another area that was seriously affected by the tsunami. Fortunately, her family members are safe and her parents’ home in Ibaraki did not suffer any major damage.

In January, Aka-Puru got married to comedian Matsuoka Shingo (41), of the duo Kurage Rider.

Hitoshi Matsumoto’s third film pushing through production for festival release

Comedian Hitoshi Matsumoto (47) of the duo Downtown is working on a jidaigeki film for his next directorial effort, it has been learned. The movie seems to be titled "Saya Zamurai," and he has been secretly shooting the film since October.

Matsumoto made his debut as a director with "Dainipponjin" in 2007, and he followed up with "Symbol" in 2009. It was revealed a couple months ago that he was working on his third movie, but few details were available at the time.

The story revolves around a retired samurai named Nomi Kanjuro and his rebellious daughter Tae. Although the film may seem like a typical jidaigeki work on the surface, it will certainly be injected with Matsumoto’s sense of humor.

As previously revealed, the lead role of Kanjuro has been given to amateur Takaaki Nomi (53), who currently works as a bartender in Shinjuku but has previously appeared on Matsumoto’s variety show "Hataraku Ossan Gekijo." The role of Tae will be played by child actress Sea Kumada (9), who has acted in shows such as "Dousoukai" and "Orthros no Inu." Unlike his previous films, Matsumoto does not plan to act in the movie.

Matsumoto became a father last year, which likely influenced his decision to do a story about the relationship between a father and daughter.

Filming is expected to continue until mid-January. The production team is reportedly hoping to have the film ready for potential screenings at international film festivals such as Cannes.

The New Wave of Japanese Comedy

Owarai (comedy) is one of the big entertainments in Japan now. When you turn the TV on, you will see tons of Owarai Geinins (comedians).

The most general style is called Manzai, which is basically two people talking in front of a microphone. One person is called Boke. Boke person says something stupid, and another person called Tsukkomi corrects it (sometimes slapping Boke’s head).

Another type of style is Conto, which is known for being a short comedy play.

This also has Boke and Tsukkomi, but instead of talking in front of a standing microphone, Conto adds acting and pantomime.

There are many Pin Geinins (individual comedians), too. Many of them have some sort of strong expression or catch phrase called an Ippatsu Gei. They make strong impressions doing their Ippatsu Gei. If they can survive catching the capricious Japanese people’s attention and still keep showing up on TV three years later, then maybe they are successful. The biggest competition that improves their careers is “M-I Grand prix.” This is for Manzai Geinins. R-1 Grand prix is for Pin Geinins. R comes from Rakugo, which means traditional Japanese comedy talk.


Saturday night’s at 10 PM, the show “The God of Entertainment Show” on Nippon Television, hosts many new comedians.

If you are a big fan of Owarai, then you should go to see it live. The M-1 Grand Prix and pre Grand Prix live shows are intense. The air is thick and you can feel the comedians’ tension and really understand how big an opportunity for them this contest is.

Comedy shows at Lumine the Yoshimoto in Shinjuku are frequent and more accessible.

Live shows are everyday and you get to see the comedians closer.


And if you are really crazy for seeing popular and traditional comedy, I recommend you to see one in Osaka.