Last week the finals of the solo comedian competition R-1 Grand Prix were held in Tokyo on Tuesday. A record 3,539 comedians originally entered the contest, but the winner in the final round of nine contestants was Koji Abe (35), who was vying for the title for the seventh time.
Abe has been in the final round six times. In this year’s contest, he made the top three along with Masahiro Ehara (27) and two-time winner Takeshi Nadagi (39). In the face-off among the three, Abe picked up six of the seven judges’ votes, while Ehara received the remaining one.
Abe received 5 million yen in prize money for his hard-earned victory. This appears to be his last time in the competition, as he jubilantly declared, “I can finally graduate!”