Johnny Shimura, a Comedian Who Imitates Tamori, Talks about Why “Imitations Without Exaggeration” Are Trending | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Johnny Shimura, a Comedian Who Imitates Tamori, Talks about Why “Imitations Without Exaggeration” Are Trending

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I wanted to be in “Laugh it up! I wanted to be on

Saturday, broadcast on the first day of this year’s GW! Saturday” ( on NTV) on the first day of GW this year, Johnny Shimura became a household name with his “imitation of Tamori without exaggeration”. Following in the footsteps of Let’s Go Yoshimasa, who made his breakthrough last year, Shimura is attracting attention as an impersonator who uses realism as a weapon.

What is the reason why he started his career as an impersonator at the age of 28 and has blossomed into a big flower at the age of 50? We interviewed him about episodes from his childhood and school days, how he started imitating Tamori in earnest, the background behind the popularity of non-exaggerated impersonations, and other topics.

After appearing on “Zoom In! Saturday, my Twitter followers increased slightly from 50 to nearly 1,000 (laugh).

(PHOTO: Sugizo) “The program staff and others said to me, ‘You found something amazing…'” (PHOTO: Sugizo)

(PHOTO: Sugizo) The staff and others on the program said, “We found something amazing…” — I watched the April 29 broadcast of “Zoom In! Saturday” broadcast on April 29 in real time. It became a very popular topic on the Internet.

Shimura: My Twitter followers slightly increased from 50 to almost 1,000 (smiles). I’ve been doing this since 2007, but I only announced when I was going to make an appearance. But now that the number has increased, I try to upload short imitation videos.

I live in Ibaraki now, but my hometown is in Kanagawa. I live in Ibaraki now, but my hometown is in Kanagawa, so it was hard for me to meet up with my friends from junior high and high school, but I did get a lot of calls from them saying, “I saw your video!

–Mr. Shachihoko also tweeted, “I’m so happy !

Shimura: Well, I’ve been in the business for a long time, so most of the people who are successful now are my juniors (laughs). Thankfully, I often hear that kind of thing from them.

–Shimura: Well, most of the people who have been in the business for a long time are my juniors, so I’m very grateful for that (laughs).

Shimura: I think the response was more from people in my industry. The program staff said, “You found something great,” and the junior impersonators were pleased. But the general public only said, “I saw it!

Compared to that, after appearing on “Zoom In! Saturday,” the general public was much more complimentary. Saturday.” The general public was more complimentary. I am really grateful for that.

The “Four Heavenly Kings of Impersonation” were the catalyst for my passion for impersonation.

–Were you good at imitating from your childhood?

Shimura: I used to imitate my teachers a lot. I would imitate my friends, and if I was not good at it, they would see me and get mad at me (laughs). I was a rather cheerful child and was class president in elementary school.

–I was also class president in elementary school. Did you watch any impersonation shows?

Shimura: I liked them and watched them often. I used to watch “Imitation Championship” (Fuji Television) and “All Japan Look-alike Award” (TV Tokyo), which featured amateurs.

But I think it was the “Four Heavenly Kings” (Akira Shimizu, the Busy Four (Yuzo Gucci and Motofuyuki), Kanichi Kurita, and Korokke) that got me hooked on impersonation. It was really popular.

When you do impersonations in class, you become popular, right? So maybe I got a little taste for it at that time (laughs).

–Shimura: In high school, you formed a copy band of BUCK-TICK, which is called the founder of Visual-kei, and you were in charge of vocals.

Shimura: I tried to play songs like “Just One More Kiss” and songs from their first album “Hurry Up Mode,” but we only had one guitarist, even though we were supposed to have two, so it didn’t go well at all. To be honest, I could sing. At the time, I was not trying to imitate, I just wanted to sing for the love of it.

Rather than performing at school festivals, I performed at gigs where copy bands would gather. For graduation ceremonies, we invited bands from six nearby high schools to perform at a joint concert, and we also performed as a copy band of THE BLUE HEARTS. I thought that if I could play guitar chords, I could make it (laugh).

I remember my father telling me, “Do what you love to do and live…”

–Did you not do any impersonations after entering university?

Shimura: There were times when I and another friend did an impersonation of CHAGE and ASKA in a university club competition. However, we were never paid to perform professionally.

After graduation, I worked part-time as a freelancer in the midst of the “ice age” of employment. I think the reason I was not active as an impersonator was because I was honestly scared. I didn’t think someone as young as me could make a living as a professional impersonator. I thought to myself, “I can’t make it anyway.

I was embarrassed to tell people around me that I wanted to be an impersonator, I thought I needed to look at reality and get a job and think about my future, and I thought, “Well, I enjoy my part-time life to a certain extent.

–then I saw an announcement of an audition for an imitation show, and from the age of 28, I have been trying to become an impersonator.

Shimura: When I was 28, my father passed away. When I was stunned, I saw an audition notice and finally took action, remembering that my father had told me to “live doing what you love.

At first, I started by imitating Sho Ayakoji of Kishidan, Gackt, YOSHIKI, and Hiroto Komoto of THE BLUE HEARTS. This has been a trend since high school, and I basically like rock music.

YOSHIKI I basically imitate the way YOSHIKI looks. When he speaks, he speaks a little nayo. Hiroto imitates a singer, so he sings while jumping. It might be a little hard to imagine what I’m like now (laughs).

Johnny Shimura

It’s an imitation that I arrived at little by little after consulting with him for a really long time.

–You have been imitating Tamori-san since you were about 30 years old.

Shimura: I didn’t put as much effort into it as I do now. I just started with a light-hearted feeling like, “If I put my hair back all the way and wear sunglasses, I’ll look like Tamori-san.

Originally, I was doing a “sunglasses medley” in which I would change only the sunglasses and imitate one person after another. Shogo Hamada, Hiroshi Tachi, Kyouhei Shibata, and Chiharu Matsuyama (……), and one of them was Tamori.

–Shimura: I feel that your work is quite different from the previous imitations.

Shimura: Imitation is like “just doing what looks similar for the time being. To be honest, I didn’t know what I could use as a weapon. I sometimes wondered if I would be more like this person instead of that person, or I tried my best to imitate this person, but I couldn’t do it.

When I was still young, I had no response to imitating Tamori. Then, some time later, six years ago, I received advice from my office that I should brush up on my Tamori impersonations. I consulted with them for a really long time, and gradually I got to where I am today.

It was difficult to get the hang of how to do the voice, and I was also studying facial expressions little by little, wondering if there was something not quite right or how I could make them more similar, until I finally reached perfection. Last year’s “The Too Fine” was the first time you performed on TV.

Johnny Shimura

The “ginger yaki” that was broadcast in the last episode of “Tamori kurakubu”…

–Shimura: I heard that the COVID-19 crisis of the past few years has left you with no work, and that the stress of the crisis has led you to develop your appearance closer to that of Tamori’s.

Shimura: I had a lot of hair when I was younger. I don’t know what the stress was for me (laughs), but there was a time when my hair fell out and I had a skin head. I put a lot of effort into imitating Samplaza Nakano-kun at that time.

I think I told myself that what would normally be stressful was no big deal and just went on with my life. After that, my hair came back a little and I got closer to Tamori-san’s appearance despite my age.

–In the “Monomake Grand Prix” (NTV) broadcast on May 2, she performed an impersonation of Tamori-san explaining how to make gingerbread. Coincidentally, it was the same material as the last episode of “Tamori kurabu” (TV Asahi).

Shimura: In discussions with the staff of “Monomake Grand Prix,” they asked me not to make it sound like a gag, so we decided to look for a story that would make the audience feel like Tamori-san even if he was just speaking.

So, I was watching various VTRs and found that Tamori was doing his own style of “how to cook gingerbread” at various points, and I thought, “This should be it. I used that as the basis for the story, while keeping in mind what he said in various programs. So it was not an exact copy.

That was around the middle of March. It was before the last episode of “Tamori kurakubu” was broadcast. I was surprised to see him making gingerbread when I turned on the TV to watch “Tamori kurakubu” after I had finished the story. (Laughs.) At the same time, I wondered if the way I had made the story was correct, and I found that it was.

However, in a playful move on Tamori’s part, he turned it over at the wrong time. I thought, “Oh, I made a mistake,” but then Tamori said, “Actually, you should have turned it over at the same time as before. I thought to myself, “That’s right.”

Going back to the basics, I think impersonations are funny enough without exaggeration.

–Last year, JP and Let’s Go Yoshimasa broke out as speaking impersonators. Other young impersonators such as Kota Matsuura and Yoyo-chan have been appearing one after another, haven’t they?

Shimura: I think it is the same in any industry. That is why I think the people you just mentioned have been rising to prominence.

Then there were the times when there was no entertainment due to the COVID-19 crisis, and then there were the times when JP did a stand-in for Hitoshi Matsumoto himself on “Wide Nah Show” (Fuji TV) and Yoshimasa recreated the image of Shimura Ken, who had passed away. I think there were many situations that deserved attention.

–Shimura: You are getting more and more exposure outside of imitation shows.

Shimura: Shachihoko also appeared on “Akko ni Omakase! (TBS) in place of Akko-san (Akiko Wada). (TBS). Of course, you can’t replace the person in question, but I think it proves that realistic impersonations can be funny even when they replace the person in question on a spot.

However, it is the evaluation of the people who watch the show, and whether or not the people who make the show think it is interesting enough to make it. In this respect, I think the industry has discovered a “new way to use imitation. Of course, it is only possible if the audience is aware of the similarity, but I think that the fact that “such usage is possible” has led to the current trend.

–In that sense, “realistic imitation” has become a trend.

Shimura: What you do on an impersonation show is just a story. If it were me, I would make up a story by asking myself, “What should I do with Tamori-san?

I can’t compete only with stories! Saturday,” which I appeared on at the end of April, I had to respond as Tamori-san all the time when someone said something. Saturday” at the end of April, I have to respond as Tamori-san all the time when he says something to me. I think that’s why there is a freshness to the show, because you get to see things that you don’t get to see in the stories.

We learn from the young guys like JP, Yoshimasa, Shachihoko, and others who are currently successful. We learn from young artists like JP, Yoshimasa, Shachihoko, and others who are currently successful.

Going back to the basics, I think impersonations are interesting enough without exaggeration, even if the gestures and speech style are similar. Of course, Mr. Croquette puts on a great entertainment show, but even realistic impersonations that are not in that direction can be appreciated. I think that’s what makes it different from the previous impersonations.

Johnny Shimura

I want to perform with “Tamori-san” someday.

–I understand that you are still working part-time at a logistics warehouse. Is your immediate goal to establish yourself as an impersonator?

Shimura: I hope to make more and more interesting things, have them seen by many people, and become an impersonator on my own.

I would like to participate in the “Mane Impersonation Grand Prix” throughout the year, as well as the “Mane Impersonation Championship”, “Too Fine”, and “Mane Impersonation Ranking” (TV Tokyo), and I would like to participate in all content that claims to be “imitation”. I know it will be tough because the competition is fierce, but of course I want to win.

In addition, I would like to appear on ” Downtown DX” because I like Downtown, and I would also like to appear on ” The Secret Kenmin Show” (both on Yomiuri TV and Nippon TV) to show the good points of Ibaraki Prefecture. It sounds like a dream, but that would be nice.

To tell you the truth, I would love to be on “Laugh It Up! (Fuji Television Network). (Fuji Television Network). (Fuji Television). Actually, I was not trying to imitate Tamori-san, but I had auditioned three or four times in the past and failed all of them (laughs). In the end, it became a dream that never came true.

I have yet to meet him, so I thought that if I had a chance, it would be for “Tamori Club,” but that has already ended. I would like to do my best so that we can work together someday, in whatever form that may take.

The real Johnny Shimura
A completely different person! A snapshot taken about 20 years ago…
Johnny Depp impersonation scene that later became the inspiration for his stage name.
  • Interview and text Asahi Suzuki

    Freelance editor/writer. Formerly a band member and a broadcaster. Loves all kinds of entertainment. Published "Shimura Ken Theory" (Asahi Shinbun Publishing) in April 2021. Currently updating his personal website, "Immortal Writing Blues.

  • PHOTO Sugizo

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