I went out to eat with the director a long time ago through a friend’s introduction, and we promised to be in a movie together. I got an offer through my office, so I decided to appear in the film. I wasn’t told in advance what kind of film it would be. It doesn’t matter what kind of film it is. It was a promise. I told my manager, ‘I’ll be a liar if I don’t do it.
So says comedian Seiji Chihara (51). Chihara will appear in the movie “Come and Go,” which will be released on November 19. It is the latest film by Lim Kah Wai, a Malaysian-born director who graduated from Osaka University and has been working on the world stage.
The film is an ensemble drama about people living in Kita, Osaka. Seiji plays a detective pursuing a murder case. Lim’s style is unique in that he decides on the story and setting, and then the actors improvise on the spot. Without a script, Seiji surprised his co-stars with different lines and performances in each take.
I can’t do the same thing, so it’s completely improvised. I can’t do the same thing. I’m not an actor, and I’m not dexterous, so I don’t know how to make up my mind to act. I just feel the atmosphere around me and do what I think the director wants me to do.
Talking about cheating
There is a striking scene in the film. There is an impressive scene in the film where a detective played by Seiji questions his wife who was having an affair with a foreign man. Seiji was reported to have cheated on his wife twice in six months in 2007. In the movie, it was the other way around. ……
The film was shot totally before the affair was reported. When the article came out, I forgot that I had shot such a scene in the movie. I hope it becomes a topic of conversation. Please write something like, “Who’s stuffing you for cheating?” or “You’re the one being stuffed!
So, what would you do if your wife was actually having an affair?
What would you do if your wife was cheating on you? But if they did, they would probably leave her. But if I found out, I’d probably leave her, because most men cheat on their wives so they don’t find out. If I notice it, it means he’s doing it on purpose because he wants to break up with me. So, I think he would understand his partner’s feelings and break up with her.
This film features actors from nine different countries and realistically depicts the human relationships between foreigners and Japanese. It is not a simple entertainment film. I asked one of the main cast members about the highlights of the film, but it was a foolish question.
He said, “It’s different from Japanese films, which are very tidy. Japanese films are full of explanations. Who are you showing this to? Who are you showing this to? Do you need this long line? I often feel that way. I think Japanese people are not very good at enjoying entertainment. We don’t care about what the director’s message is. Everyone eats differently, has different upbringing, and has a different religion. You can watch it however you like.
Seiji also made a regular appearance in this summer’s drama “Hakozume” (Nippon Television Network Corporation), where he played the role of a charming deputy police chief. How does he feel about comedians appearing in TV dramas and movies in the first place?
I’ve been doing comedy for a long time, so acting is not that difficult for me. I don’t mind acting that much. I think professionals cast me and call me in because they need me. I don’t mind acting that has nothing to do with comedy at all when it comes to video. When I’m on a comedy stage, I’ll say, “That was really funny today,” but when I’m in a movie or drama, the staff will say, “That was really good,” and I’ll just think, “Really? I just think, ‘Really? But with movies and dramas, when it’s over, the staff says, “That was good,” and I just think, “Really? Well, I don’t know if it’s acting or not.
Just to be sure, I asked him what role he would like to play as an actor in the future.
I don’t have anything in mind. When my children were small, I wanted to be in “Masked Rider,” but I was politely turned down by TV Asahi. They said there were many people who wanted to be in it.
In addition to being a comedian and actor, he is currently active as a YouTuber. His official channel “Seijin Toko” has about 27,000 subscribers. He has a wide range of content, including buying cheap properties for real estate investment, talking about his hobby of motorcycles, and building a pizza oven.
According to the data, the people who watch my YouTube are older than me. I don’t see junior high school students at all, and 90 percent of them are old men. So I thought it would be better to do what I want to do. (Any response?) No. No, not at all. No one has seen it. The only time I got 700,000 views was when I had the actor Yuki Yamada as a guest. Other than that, nothing at all.
Still, as a veteran comedian, what do you think of the potential of YouTube?
It’s already wacky. You can’t make money explosively on YouTube like you did at one time. I think people will move on to TikTok, which is much shorter. Unless you’ve been doing it for a long time, but if you’re a comedian who started recently, it’s probably just a hobby. They say it’s more free than TV, but the compliance is the same. It’s rather noisy on YouTube. It’s hard to complain to a TV station, but it’s very easy to watch YouTube and write about it. That’s why it’s so easy to slander people.
I don’t think anyone expects me to be on YouTube, so I just do what I want. I’ve never thought about sending out anything to the world. If I get more friends and my friends enjoy it, that’s all that matters.
Incidentally, what do you think of the “seventh generation” of comedians who are dominating the television industry today? Do you see them as your rivals?
They’re all really funny. I don’t think we had videos until I was in the second or third grade. So it was impossible for me to watch the shows over and over again, and I just recorded the sound on a boom box and listened to it. Nowadays, we can watch professional performances over and over again on video sites. Nowadays, we can watch professional performances over and over again on video sites, and since they have grown up in that environment, they find it interesting. All the comedians who have jobs where the TV stations say, “We’ll pay you to be on the show,” are great. If you ask me who’s the most interesting, it’s like asking me who’s the greatest writer for the Naoki Prize.
He is now 51 years old. Finally, he talked about his future prospects.
I’m just going with the flow. I’m not thinking about anything. I do things on the spot, but I’ve been doing that for over 30 years, and if I suddenly start thinking about the future, I’ll go crazy. I’m doing a job that I love, so why bother to start a new job that I don’t like?
She is a natural in every way. That’s why she has a mysterious presence on screen.
From the December 3, 2021 issue of FRIDAY
PHOTO： Hiroyuki Komatsu