Is he boasting, “Isn’t this place good?”
It was early June in Nakameguro, Tokyo. It was early June in Nakameguro, Tokyo, and it was almost past midnight when a man in a good mood emerged from a tavern. It was comedian Hakata Hanamaru (53).
Outside the bar, several men and women, who had probably been drinking together, were waiting for him. Among them was a big shot with long red hair and an overwhelming aura. It was actress Kimiko Yo (67). Leaving the reporter astonished by their unexpected friendship, the two disappeared into the night with their friends.
On the day of the event, there was a stage greeting for the opening of “Mentai Piriri: Pansy Flowers,” a movie starring Hanamaru-san. It was a banquet held to celebrate the opening of the movie “Mentai Piriri: Pansy Flowers,” in which Hanamaru played the lead role, and other guests included actor Yuki Morinaga (26) and director Kan Eguchi (55).
The restaurant was an izakaya (Japanese-style pub) popular for its Hakata cuisine and sake, perhaps recommended by Hanamaru because the movie is set in Hakata Ward, Fukuoka City. Morinaga’s face was slightly reddish, and the drinking party seemed to be in full swing.
He said, “In addition to his main profession of comedy, Hanamaru-san seems to be interested in acting at the moment. In the movie in which he plays the lead role, he enthusiastically plays Toshio Kawahara, the founder of “Fukuya,” the first company in Japan to sell mentaiko (seasoned cod roe). Combined with the comedic tone of the story, it was an addictive role. In addition, on July 7, she will be performing in the lead role in a stage play “Shinsei! Nekketsu Bravan Shoujo. which will begin performances in April next year. This production will be staged to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Hakataza Theater, and Hanamaru is quite enthusiastic about it.
Even after turning 50, Hanamaru continues to energetically broaden his circle of friends and expand the scope of his activities. He will continue to shine as the “star of the “arafifa” generation.
PHOTO： Ichiro Takatsuka