Pancho Kagami (left) and Beat Kiyoshi (right) perform live manzai in Yokohama. Photo by Brett Homenick.
One thing I hadn't experienced in Japan was live manzai. Sure, with my limited Japanese, it's not like there's a whole lot I could get from it, but since I've seen a couple of live rakugo performances, manzai seemed like the next logical step. Besides, I had a chance to see it performed by one of the best!
Actor-singer Mikio Osawa talks about his career. Photo by Brett Homenick.
Tonight's event featured an star-studded lineup, headlined by manzai legend Beat Kiyoshi. If the "Beat" nickname sounds familiar, yes, he is the former manzai partner of actor-director Beat Takeshi. Together, they formed the manzai pair Two Beats, which is still remembered fondly in Japan. Tonight, Beat Kiyoshi's manzai partner was Pancho Kagami, formerly of the pop group Pinky & Killers.
Yours truly with tonight's manzai pair, Beat Kiyoshi (center) and Pancho Kagami (left).
Also on hand was actor-singer Mikio Osawa, who is best known in Japan as a former member of the idol group Hikaru Genji (a client of the legendary management company Johnny & Associates). He's also been an actor in TV and movies since the '80s, and his credits include Devilman (2004).
With Mikio Osawa.
Osawa-san could speak a bit of English, and we talked for a bit. He was a friendly guy, and it was interesting to get to know a former idol.
Tonight was a very interesting experience, and it was something I've never done before. It's important to remember that there's a whole world of entertainment in Japan beyond the same old monster movies!