Takeshi Gundan Reveals the Truth About the Friday Attack for the First Time
Tsumami-Edamame, Gadarkanal Taka, and Duncan...... are all in high spirits even though they are over 60 years old!
The eight men lined up in a row. They are all members of the Takeshi Gundan. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the formation of the corps, a stage play “Usubakagerou na Otoko-tachi” is scheduled to be performed from March 8. On this day, they were gathered at a studio in Tokyo for rehearsals for the play.
Beat Takeshi’s (76) disciples do not know when they became known as the Takeshi-gundan. However, it is said that the first eight members (after Great Gidayu and Rakkyo Ide joined to make ten, Higashi Sonma and Utaemon Omori left the group) were all together in 1983. In other words, this year marks 40 years since their formation. Comparing the panel standing behind them with the members themselves, one can’t help but feel the years have passed.
I asked Tsumami-Edame (64), the representative of their current agency, TAP, Duncan (64), the managing director, and Gadarkanal Taka (66), the oldest member, to talk about their days together with Takeshi.
Edamame : “ We were always together. Takeshi is a very cautious person, so he didn’t dare to make friends in the entertainment world. Maybe it was easier for him to be with us.
Duncan: “ After the show, we would drink until 4:00 in the morning and then go straight to a baseball game at 6:00 in the morning. He was a superstar who everyone would call out to, but when a drunken businessman would say to him, “Oh, Takeshi,” he would say, “What a bastard! and he would try to hit us, but we would stop him. It was very human.
Taka: “ He doesn’t hide his embarrassment. If he didn’t like it, he would try to hit us. If he saw a beautiful woman, he would say he wanted to do something about it (laughs).
Duncan: “ It was tough on everyone around him, though (laughs).
Just before the attack, “Gather around!
Speaking of Takeshigun and this magazine, it would be impossible not to mention the “Friday” raid. On December 9, 1986, Beat Takeshi and a total of 12 members of the Takeshi-gundan stormed into the magazine’s editorial office and assaulted and injured the editor.
Taka: “ When I heard Takeshi’s explanation, I was so angry that I couldn’t stand it.
Duncan: “ In those days, the weekly photo magazines seemed to be able to get away with anything, and they went over the edge.
Taka: “ I’m sorry that I had a hand in it, but the editorial department was also provocative in some respects. If they said, ‘If you have a problem with us, come here,’ Takeshi-san and our temperament would have gone for it. I think they had the intention of writing an article about us if we came at them with a punching bag. But we went off the rails more than I imagined.”
Duncan: “ I didn’t join in the struggle, but kept looking around, and if anyone took a picture, I was going to take their camera away from them. But no one was trying to take pictures. Well, I think they were just confused by the sudden turn of events.
Taka: “ I thought for sure they were going to take a picture somewhere and put it out there.”
Three of the eight members did not participate. Tsumami-Edamame and Rachikyo Ide could not be reached, and Rusher Itamae was in the hospital.
Edamame said, “ The next day, I was at home watching TV and saw a person from Kodansha giving an interview, pointing to the mark where Gidayu had strangled him and unilaterally claiming damage, saying, ‘This is what he did to me. I felt that I had done them an injustice by not being able to go the day before, so I thought I had to go here and do something about these guys. So I was looking for something to weaponize when I got a phone call. I thought it was a relative, so I said, “What? I answered and it was Takeshi-san! I got down on my knees right then and there (laughs). I got down on my knees right then and there (laughs). I’ll take care of you for the rest of my life, so give me a break. If I had made a move, the story would have been very different.
Duncan: “ That would have added fuel to the fire and caused a huge firestorm.”
Edamame: “ Of course I would have been finished, and Takeshi-san would have been ruined. And I was just about to leave, so it was no wonder I couldn’t get a phone call. It was a miracle.”
God said, “Don’t die.
Taka: “ As expected, it was not a good idea to hit out at the publishing company. I thought I would never work again, but there were many sympathetic voices, such as then Chief Cabinet Secretary Masaharu Goto, who said in the Diet, ‘I understand how Beat-kun feels. The fact that the phone call was also miraculously connected at the most critical moment makes me think that Takeshi-san must have had the energy to create such miracles.”
Duncan: “ He must have been very lucky. He may have lost his life in the motorcycle accident in 1994, and that may have been because God told him that he shouldn’t die.
Edamame: “ I think he is someone like that. There are many things he does not do (laughs).
When Takeshi moved to his own new company in April ’18, the corps also became independent. When he first took over the office, “I didn’t know how to give out business cards or bow down” (Duncan). Many people said that the company would soon be crushed anyway. However, five years later, thanks to the efforts of the corps members, the corps has not gone out of business.
Taka: “ I thought that young people wouldn’t know about the corps, but now you can see old videos on YouTube. I’ve even had young people who happened to see old videos of the corps say to me, ‘That was fun. So I think there is still a chance.
After 40 years, the passionate bond between the corps is still alive and well. Even after turning 60 years old, they seem to be getting better and better.
From the March 17, 2023 issue of FRIDAY
PHOTO： Yuri Adachi