Kaname Endo confesses: “I wanted to show them something even if they made fun of me.
I asked the office to let me hold an apology press conference, but they stopped me. They said it would only be a negative thing to send out from myself.”
Actor Kaname Endo (38) quietly reflected on the “allegations of illegal gambling at a black market casino” reported by FRIDAY in February 2005.
Due to the report, Endo was suspended by his agency. Although he returned to work, his contract was terminated in April 2006 after it was reported that he had punched an actor he knew.
He said, “I went to a bar where an actor friend of mine worked, and the bill was about 650,000 yen. It was clearly a rip-off, so I got angry and slapped him once, saying, ‘You should do the math again right in front of me. Of course, it was my fault for being so violent.”
Four and a half years later, the man has unexpectedly returned to the stage. He has decided to participate in the martial arts event “KYOKEN 22,” which will be held on January 7 next year.
Where had he been living and what had he been doing? He began to speak in a halting manner, choosing his words carefully, but not lying.
After my contract was cancelled, I stayed in Tokyo for a while. I was clinging to the thought that I would definitely make a comeback in the entertainment industry.
Eventually, however, Endo moved to Tokushima, Shikoku. It was actor Sosuke Takaoka (40), with whom he co-starred in the movie “Close Zero,” who gave him the impetus to move.
He said, “He told me, ‘The rent is expensive, and I don’t have any choice but to stay in Tokyo. Sosuke had moved to Kyoto, so he said, ‘You should move to the countryside, too. I started thinking about rethinking myself, too, and at that time I had an acquaintance who invited me to Tokushima. After staying in Tokushima for a few days, I felt strangely at ease. So I decided to start from scratch here.
He lived a peaceful life in Tokushima, managing a bar, but then the incident happened again. In June 2009, he was arrested for injuring a part-time college student.
He said, “He had a habit of skipping work, but I found him drunk the morning after he suddenly took a day off from his job. I snapped.”
Both of the two assaults were dropped. However, Endo was bashed on wide TV shows and social networking sites as a “bad guy who beat up young people. Endo says he even distrusted people, so why did he decide to come back to the public stage, this time in the form of martial arts?
When I got the offer, I honestly didn’t want to enter. I was scared. Not because I wanted to fight, but because I was afraid that I would be made into a joke, and that the public would make fun of me.
It was his best friend, Takaoka, who changed his mind. Takaoka, who himself made his martial arts debut in June of this year, spoke to Endo.
I think I need to show my fans and those who supported me how hard I am working now. It is not about winning or losing, but about showing that we are purifying ourselves by challenging even one person who cares about Kaname Endo.
With these words, Endo decided to take on the challenge.
Of course, I don’t think this will allow me to return to being an actor. I just want to show you how I have lived and what I can do from now on. I’ve lost 10 kgs and quit drinking and smoking. I seriously cried just to see my participation in the games being mentioned as positive news. That’s how much I’m getting into the game.”
It may not be a spectacular match like the pros. However, the sight of a man who has seen the bottom of the barrel of the ocean challenging himself so hard is sure to strike a chord in someone’s heart.
From the December 16, 2022 issue of FRIDAY
PHOTO： Kei Kato