For geinin (芸人) or entertainers in Japan, fame is fleeting. You could be the most talked about person in Japan, but six months later, people talk about how nostalgic they feel after hearing your name or gag in conversation. In the past few years, the worst offenders of these popularity explosions are comedians who use their bodies to get big laughs. Their gags are simple but memorable, and the amount of skin they show makes them stand out among their clothed co-entertainers. Here are a few Japanese entertainers who aren’t afraid to expose their bodies on national television to make it big.
The most clothed comedian of the group, Wild Sugi-chan is listed because his signature sleeveless jean jacket and cut-off shorts outfit combo is the only thing he wears no matter where he is. Going barefoot to show off how “wild” he is. It could be the dead of winter, and he would walk in the snow in his “wild” outfit. He would, however, soon regret his decision to not cover up, as anyone walking outside in Japanese winter would; thus showing just what torture some comedians put their bodies through for the sake of staying relevant.
Wild Sugi-chan’s Official Blog *Japanese only
— しらべぇ (@sirabee_news) September 12, 2017
Veterans of the entertainment business, this trio, consisting of Katsuhiro Higo, Jimon Terakado, and Ryuhei Ueshima, have had a number of well-known gags over the years. However, the one that fits this list consists of Ryuhei Ueshima dressed in a traditional Hyottoko get-up, just a cloth over his head and a fundoshi (Japanese version of a thong) covering anything important, standing over a tub of boiling hot water. Actually a sneaky commentary on Japanese Tatemae culture by not saying what they really mean, he begs his group mates not to push him, “Definitely don’t push me.” After his partners don’t push him, his true feelings come out when he gets mad that they didn’t push him because that is what he really wanted them to do. Then they push him, and we all laugh at the bodily harm entertainers in Japan go through to get ratings (I see a trend here).
Recently, Dachou Club was featured in a Nissin Cup Noodles commercial explaining the Tatemae culture in Japan.
Dachou Club’s Official Blog *Japanese only
— 小島よしお (@yoshiopiiya) August 9, 2017
A graduate of the prestigious Waseda University, you see Yoshio Kojima fully clothed on several different quiz shows these days; but when he debuted in 2007, “intelligent” was not the first word to come to peoples’ minds.
This well-toned bodied man-child would come on stage wearing nothing but a rainbow-colored Speedo and make everyone around him uncomfortable, partly from his mostly naked body and also from his creepy body shaking and perverted voice. He would get depressed that his act wasn’t winning over the crowd, then the music would start. With the rhythm, he would start listing unfortunate things that have happened to him, but following it by repeating that he just doesn’t care and rebounds with a peppy nonsensical “Opapi.” It took the nation by storm, everyone was imitating his motions, and sales of rainbow-colored Speedos were up. His popularity lasted long enough for him to brave outdoor stages in the middle of winter, probably rethinking his fashion choices.
Yoshio Kojima’s Official Blog *Japanese only
— とにかく明るい安村 (@yasudebu) July 12, 2016
Despite being in the business for almost 15 years, Tonikaku Akarui Yasumura didn’t hit it big until he bared it all on national TV… sort of.
Taking a page from Yoshio Kojima, Yasumura would come on stage in nothing but a pink Speedo and used his not so well-toned body to give the illusion that he wasn’t wearing anything at all. He would start the music, get in position, and as the song finished, he would enter his “looks like I’m butt naked” pose. Then, to calm the fears of the audience, he would say as he stands up straight, “Don’t worry, I’m wearing,” (his translation, not mine).
Much like other one-hit wonder comedians, he was the guy everyone was imitating one minute and the next just faded away, much like his underwear would when he took his poses.
Tonikaku Akarui Yasumura’s Official Blog *Japanese only
— アキラ100% (@akira100p) August 12, 2017
Akira 100% is the winner of the Comedy Competition of R1 Grand Prix 2017. Unlike Yasumura, you should start worrying about him because he ISN’T wearing. Armed with nothing but a novelty bow tie and a circular silver tray, Akira 100% pushes the limits of censorship by making you think you might see something, but in the end, you don’t. With a quick hand, he flips his tray around, spins, and finds creative ways to make you hope you get a glimpse of his private parts.
Akira 100%’s Official Blog *Japanese only
While I don’t think we’ll get any further than Akira 100% at baring it all, it is safe to say that we’ll see more Japanese entertainers in the future who are not afraid to show a little skin.