Masahiro Higashide & Erika Karada Visited Mr. Nakamoto Construction & Junka’s Izakaya Leaving their Sign as Souvenir | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Masahiro Higashide & Erika Karada Visited Mr. Nakamoto Construction & Junka’s Izakaya Leaving their Sign as Souvenir

They visited an izakaya in Meguro-ku and had a pleasant conversation with Mr. Nakamoto Construction.

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Masahiro Higashide and Erika Karada’s signatures on the wall of the restaurant

It has been about three months since the death of Mr. Ken Nakamoto (81 years old), who ran the izakaya “Nakamoto Family JUNKA’s Kitchen” in Meguro-ku, Tokyo, in a traffic accident, in addition to his entertainment activities. The restaurant is currently forced to close. His common-law wife, Junka Mida, 54, an enka (traditional Japanese ballad) singer, who ran the restaurant with Mr. Nakamoto, said, “The restaurant was closed for a long time due to the Corona disaster.

“We thought we could finally reopen the restaurant after the long closure due to the COVID-19 crisis. Now that Mr. Nakamoto has passed away, I think it will be difficult to reopen the restaurant. It’s unfortunate, but we may have no choice but to close the restaurant as is.”

Since its opening in 2003, the restaurant has been visited by many celebrities who were friends with Mr. Nakamoto. On the wall across from the counter, there are numerous autographs written by customers.

One of the most eye-catching autographs is that of actor Masahiro Higashide (34), written in a space measuring no more than 30 cm above and below his name. Below his name is the signature of actress Erika Karada (25).

Higashide and Karada made headlines in January ’20 when their affair was reported in “Shukan Bunshun” (weekly magazine). What was the reason for these two to visit Nakamoto’s restaurant? Junka explains.

Junka explains, “I think it was in 2005. Higashide-san was tall and very cool, and I remember looking up at him as we talked. Higashide-san and Karada-san were co-stars in the movie “Sleep or Awake,” which was released in 2006, and Nakamoto-san was also in that movie. So they held a launch party at our restaurant with a small group of people involved in the movie. Although Mr. Nakamoto cannot drink alcohol, he was smiling and talking with them and seemed to be really enjoying himself.”

On the walls of the store are the signatures of many other celebrities. Actress Kumiko Okae, who died of pneumonia caused by a new type of coronavirus infection in 2020 at the age of 63, is a regular customer of the store, as are the signatures of actor Ichiro Ogura, 71, and actor Ryoichi Yamaguchi, 67, who was active as the ‘Imokin Trio.’

“I can only be grateful to the many customers who have patronized me,” she said. When I close my eyes, happy memories of serving customers with Mr. Nakamoto comes to mind. 

Running a tavern was also Mr. Nakamoto’s reason for living. Junka says he has managed to find a way to reopen the business.

Masahiro Higashide and Erika Karada’s autographs on the wall of the restaurant.
Junka tearfully sang a memorable duet with Ms. Nakamoto at a “memorial party” held at the end of last year.

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