Today Shinsuke Shimada, a comedian legend in Japan, was fired/resigned from his duties as a result of a Yakuza scandal. The scandal? He had email contact with a known Yakuza member … that’s it. Talking to Yakuza isn’t a crime in Japan and there was no attempted crimes in the email just the Japanese cultural crime of guilt by association. Much like how Noriko Sakai was excommunicated from TV for admitting doing speed in the past (a drug the Japanese government used to give its citizens to improve their factory output) Shimada has been pushed out of the limelight. This might seem strange to foreigners after all Frank Sinatra became legend even though he was a known mob associate but in Japan there is a taboo in talking to the Yakuza, a crime that will get you thrown off TV.
Shinsuke Shimada rose through the ranks of the Osaka comedy scene to become the go to host for Japanese TV. At one time he was hosting eight different quiz or variety shows, in addition to even being an anchor for the Asahi’s TV Sunday morning news program. No stranger to controversy once during a 2009 live taping of “All Star Kanshasai” a five hour live TV show he attacked a comedy group for not showing enough respect for the show. Even further back Shimada assaulted a young co-worker who “went up to him and introduced herself, saying that when she was in high school in Tokyo she was a big manzai (stand-up comedy) fan.” For that crime he dragged her into a room and assaulted her. The justification for the attack? ” the woman, who … grew up overseas, didn’t seem to know how to talk “ to her superiors, her senpai. Shimada is notorious for following a strict hierarchy of deference to superiors that seems to evolve in any Japanese group or sub-culture, something the younger Japanese are following less and less. Which is how he justified the attack on the young women saying, “he couldn’t control himself and felt he had to teach her a lesson.”
With his exit from the Japanese TV the networks are scrambling to fill the void of dozens of hours of his shows that have already been taped. It is unknown if they will be broadcast now that Shimada has been forced out in disgrace. But there is still hope and a chance for redemption for Shimada. A few years ago famous TV anchor Mona Yamamoto was caught in a love hotel having an affair with Goshi Hosono, an executive of the Democratic Party of Japan that was supposedly a happily married man. Mona too was excommunicated from TV for her transgressions but after sometime off air she was allowed back into the fold. However, shortly after making a comeback she was caught again in a love hotel this time with Tomohiro Nioka a married baseball player.
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I have to say it because I think many of us are thinking it: WHO GIVES A FUCK? Not about the post itself, but about Japanese TV? It is simply awful. Mexico, France, Germany, Thailand, Korea, China, America, England, Poland….even the Armed forces network, I have seen them all and NONE of them, not ONE can compare with the awfulness that is Japanese television. I hope the whole damn system implodes.
Here’s something that make it more relevant for you. The Yakuza member Shimada has been excommunicated for talking to? Jiro Watanabe (渡辺二郎) one of the first boxing World Super Flyweight Champions.
My boxing coach at Ihara is totally hooked up with the Yazzies and is a former light heavy champion. Old news. VIVA JAPANESE BOXING, FUCK JAPANESE TV. Keep the bad news coming Yosomono…it pumps me up.
Ah AFN still a torturer to troops here in Okinawa.
but true it is still better than Japanese TV in Tokyo and here in Kadena Airbase.
*shudders* the horrors of having to watch shitty variety shows or finding out what celebrities like to eat while being stuck at my ex GF home
I have known AFN for 30 years and it’s been an evil dirty whore the entire time. I was an army brat, and then I was in the Marines. Oh god do I know and loath AFN, however I would rather watch nothing but AFN for the rest of my life with a Perrier bottle lodged in my rectum rather than deal with a week of Japanese programming. Sheer torture.
I was just thinking “I don´t understand why anyone would give a fuck about his guy” when I read your commnet and made me laugh. I read and saw some clips of his work and his notorious douchness and is in fact a very irritating person (Like Gab X for instance)…I don´t understand why he became so famous nor why there are so many shocked and annoyed by his forced retirement. As it goes for me I think it is rightly done, not for the yakuza bizz but because it should have happen years ago.
Just thinking that his supposed crime of “having email contact with a known Yakuza member” wasn’t really a crime at all. More like, thats the information the police is allowing out, (because there is probably more) and booking him on this charge sends a message to others who also are in email contact with a known Yakuza member.
I thought something similar. This is a cover story of some kind.
Japanese comedians are anti-funny. When i watch them they erase the memories of western stand up comedians from my brain. I don’t think anyone in japan has told a joke in the last 60 years its just that they are so conformist they will laugh at anything they’re told is a joke.
Watching TV in Japan is not a thing I would recommend. It baffles me that they make such high quality TVs here, only for a majority of customers to go home, plug it in and watch a fat guy, dressed as a women, giving the guided a tour of restaurants. Outside of food related programming (which is a majority of the day) there are the “Variety” shows. They consist of the following: An entirely female in house audience watching some celebrities on stage make predictable jokes. All the while, the audience has 3 reactions:
1. eeeeeeee! (used when they are supposed to be surprised by something totally predictable.
2. aaaaaaaa! (used then they are supposed to have just had something explained to them… like saying “I see” in english but for more annoying)
3. Laughter. Most of the time at something which isn’t even the slightest bit funny.
Then there are the TV Dramas. The worst part about Japanese TV. Before explaining what these shows are about, I will explain that the acting is absolutely terrible. Why is it so terrible? Japanese people can’t act. It’s that simple. Not one actor/actress, in not one TV Drama since 1999, has portrayed their character realistically and convincingly. You can tell from a mile off that they are acting, the second they are on the screen. It’s like watching live theater (IE. Shakespeare) where the over-acting is done deliberately. Everything from the way they read their lines, to the movement of their face or other body parts is highly exaggerated.
As for the content of Japanese TV dramas. Think “cookie cutter”, maybe there are a few crumbs of that cookie that end up in an different position when they’re cooked but the base shape is exactly the same. Guide to making a Japanese TV Drama:
1. Find 5 people who can’t act
2. Select your drama type: Law, Illness or love.
3. Go outside and hire some people off the street to play the part of the background.
4. Make sure that one of your characters has a weird or unusual thing about them, which is immediately obvious. Last month there was a drama which had a young girl with grey hair and over-sized glasses. This month there’s a cop who looks like a slept in the clothes he’s wearing (his neck tie is half off and his shirt is not tucked in) and hasn’t had a haircut for a long time. He is supposed to be a detective. If someone showed up at my house looking like that I would give them the number for the drug and alcohol rehab center as they are obviously suffering some sort of mental issues, probably stemming from abuse of recreational drugs.
Now you have built the base for the show you will need a script. Producing a script for a J-TV Drama can’t take more than a few hours and the content isn’t really important.
Run your show for 1 season and ensure that the end of the final episode has the following:
A piece of Paper with some writing on being held up in front the of perpetrator while the person holding the paper up goes ahead and explains what it is. That’s the ending of all Japanese TV Dramas. It doesn’t have to be paper, it can be any object really. Just hold it up in front of the perpetrator while you give a speech.
After you finish the season. Grab another cookie and start again.
The food shows are just as simple to make but they are not scripted. A celebrity or some celebrities go to X restaurant. When they get served the food, as soon as they take their first bite, they say “Uma!” (which should be “Umai” but they abbreviate it for some reason. Umai means “Tastey”. Once the “Uma!” is over, the celebrity will then explain what the food feels like in their mouth and what sort of flavor it is.
I forgot to add the the most important part of all variety or food shows : The reaction cameras, usually at the top left or right of the screen. They show the presenters back in the studio face and their reaction to what’s happening on screen. Personally I wish TVs had a button to turn them off but you’re stuck with them, unfortunately.
Don’t forget to subtitle every show too! Especially if it’s a foreigner speaking Japanese.
Lastly I will say a few things about the news programs in Japan. Think japan, think : High tech. Right? wrong! the news consists a few reports to start off. Then they switch back to the studio where a guy is stood next to a notice board covered in strips of paper. He will proceed, one by one, to tear off the paper, revealing the most important text underneath it.
I could go on and on but I have work in the morning so I’ll end here. Thanks for the site!