At the Shinagawa Shukumatsuri a couple of weeks ago I happened by chance to be right at the spot where the police parade was assembling. One of the members of the parade was the famous TV announcer and show hostess Yuri Takami (高見侑里). She has quite a fan base and there were photographers and autograph hunters everywhere! I was the only foreigner in the crowd and still managed to get the best spot and even a mention in one of the speeches. She is currently on two famous TV morning shows, the Mezamashidoyobi (on Saturdays) and the Mezamashi Terebi Akua (めざましどようび, めざましテレビ アクア). You can see her in a Nissan Commercial here.
Why the police uniform? In order to promote the police and fire brigades here in Japan their PR departments have invented a “Police officer for a day” program where celebrities and notable locals (almost always young ladies) take part in parades and various performances as an honorary police officer for a day. It seems like a nice project to take part in and one of my friends who did was happy to show me the memorabilia she received as thanks, quite cool stuff. Of course it is all in good fun and none of the participants are given any real police power. In this case Ms. Takami got to ride in an open care with the local chief of police and just look smashing in her uniform.
Visiting the beautiful Aoshima in Japan’s subtropic Miyazaki prefecture a couple of months ago I came across a TV shoot with these two colorful figures battling it out on the beach! I assume the one in green is the hero and the red on is the villain. A few minutes later I saw them as they hurried of together towards the rest rooms, still in character! It was a blazing hot day and I can only imagine how hot it must have been in those costumes! I am not sure what drama it was that was being filmed,
if anyone knows please let us know in the comments! – I found it! 天尊降臨ヒムカイザー, Himakaiza!
I recently blogged about a formerly disgraced member of SMAP (Japan’s number one supergroup bar none!), Kusanagi. Now another member of his group is starring in a TV-drama, this one based on the exceptionally successful manga, Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Kōen Mae Hashutsujo (こちら葛飾区亀有公園前派出所). Not only is it the longest running manga in the world it is endowed with what must be the most ridiculously long name! When I started learning Japanese I used to practice speed reading the title of this manga, competing with TV announcers in how fast I could say. Then, I used to practice how to write it (it is hard!). All in all, I credit this manga with having a good deal of influence on my spoken Japanese! Incidentally, the title means “This is the police station in front of Kameari Park in Katsushika Ward. A mouthful even in English.
The anime (and ineed the manga) is about the misadventures of lovable but slightly incompetent police officer Kankichi Ryoutsu. In this TV series he is portrayed by Katori Shingo, who is probably the most wholesome-take-home-to-grandmother-all-around-good-guy of SMAP. According to friends who work with him he is also the friendliest and kindest of the all the members. But I wouldn’t know, having never met any of them.
I really enjoyed watching this animated show when I first came to Japan, the police officer is gruff but kind and displays a rather unique disrespect for authority and regulations, constantly rolling up his sleeves, refusing to wear proper shoes and with two massive eyebrows! Despite his lack of footwear he is a very fast runner.
I can’t remember when I last watched TV. I think it must have been sometime in December last year, so I doubt I will see this new show with Shingo, but I sort of respect him as being the most competent comedic actor in SMAP. Fans of Japanese culture should give this an eye ball or two though. Enjoy these snaps of advertising for the show, a statue that is displayed in front of Kameari station in Katsushika ward, and, gasp!, the actual police station that is the center of the show! But, it doesn’t look anywhere near as cool as the manga or anime staiton. Does it?
I came across this interesting poster advertising a new television drama here in Tokyo. The poster features a heavily punch permed Tsuyoshi Kusanagi. Now why is this of interest? Well, apart from the fact that we get an excellent view of a hairstyle that is uniquely Japanese and growing quite uncommon recently (due to the fact that it is intensely associated with criminals and gangsters – if you see one on the street don’t laugh, don’t point, don’t take pictures – seriously), we also see one of the first images of Mr. Kusanagi after his unfortunate arrest in April this year. Apparently he has been properly rehabilitated by now. If you don’t know Kusanagi from before let me just say that he is a member of the most popular Japanese boy band ever. The band, SMAP has been on TV in one form or another virtually every single day for the last twenty years. To approximate their impact on Japanese people and media you’d have to roll the Beatles, Jonas Brothers, U2, the Pope and President Obama into one sweet smelling crooning boy band. Now you get the picture. So perhaps, this rather laughable picture is a way for Kusanagi to ease back into respectable society by humbling himself with some comedy acting? It’ll actually be interesting to follow.
For the record, I think that both media and police overreacted to an insane degree during his arrest. Give the man a break. Or to quote his drunken self at the moment of arrest: “What is wrong with being naked?” There. No one could have said it better!