With friends… Exclusive access to “the last photo before his death
Emi Watanabe, his best friend, saw his "true relationship" with his wife.
At around 3:00 p.m. on October 19, Junka called me and I rushed to the hospital to meet Mr. Nakamoto in the ICU. In an effort to get her to regain consciousness somehow, a duet song by Ms. Nakamoto and Junka was played in the hospital room at the suggestion of the doctors. When I heard it, my heart almost burst.”
Emi Watanabe, 63, a former figure skater, recalled that day. Watanabe was a close friend of Nakamoto Kenji (81) of “The Drifters,” who passed away on October 19, and they had met frequently until shortly before his death.
He said, “He had to go out, and on October 15, three days before the accident, he and his wife, Junka Mida (54), came to my house to drop off their pet dog. That day we also had dinner together with my good friend, actress Terumi Higashi (66), and we all had dinner together. she was supposed to come to pick up the dog on the 18th, but she had an accident that day. ……”
Mr. Nakamoto has been married three times, the last time to Junka, a 27-year-old enka singer whom he married in 2012. In the fall of 2003, he opened the izakaya “Nakamoto JUNKA’s Kitchen” in Meguro, Tokyo. The two served customers together and were known as a loving couple.
However, in the October 13 issue of Shukan Shincho, it was reported that the couple had already separated and that Mr. Nakamoto was living in a “trash house” without his wife. The Nakamotos were said to be heartbroken by this report.
It is true that Junka left Mr. Nakamoto’s house last July, but there are various circumstances not mentioned in the article. The warehouse near her home in Meguro, where she had stored her belongings, was to be demolished, and she was only temporarily moving her belongings there, but she was written in the article as a “trashy house. Mr. Nakamoto was dismayed, saying, “It’s a terrible article. Ms. Junko was also angry, saying, ‘There are a lot of malicious intent and mistakes.
Mr. Nakamoto plans to start remodeling his home in November of this year, and after the remodeling is completed, he and his wife made this promise to each other.
They planned to live together again after the remodeling was completed. They also planned to reopen the tavern business, which had been closed due to the COVID-19 crisis. It was reported as if they had fallen out completely, but they never got along. Junka wanted to start something new, and Mr. Nakamoto was always smiling and watching over her. That kind of mature relationship is what makes them a true couple.
The shape of a couple is different for everyone. It is even more so for older couples. For now, we can only pray for Ms. Nakamoto’s soul rest in peace. My prayers go out to her family.
From the November 11, 2022 issue of FRIDAY
PHOTO： Courtesy of Emi Watanabe