Torata Nanbu Giving Lesson on Kindness While a Can of Beer is on His Forehead | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Torata Nanbu Giving Lesson on Kindness While a Can of Beer is on His Forehead

Toshio Ishikawa, entertainment reporter, "Behind the Scenes" of the entertainment industry: ......

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“Entertainment Reporter Toshio Ishikawa’s Behind the Scenes of That Event in the Entertainment World.”

Mr. Torata Nanbu of the “Dengeki Network,” who took the world by storm with his original, physically demanding performances and gained popularity not only in the U.S. but also in Australia and Europe, passed away due to a stroke at the age of 72.

The first time we met was through an introduction from a male weekly magazine reporter.

I was interested in him because I had seen him perform on the Dengeki stage, and I clearly remember him as a pleasant man with a low profile. He was also a very polite person and didn’t seem like someone who gave very strong performances on stage.

He sometimes showed a trick on stage where he put a can of beer on his forehead and poured it into a cup.

I thought, “I might be able to do this.”

And, I had learned some of it from the original master.

However, while I could attach empty cans, I couldn’t manage to stick a beer can with its contents. Despite receiving careful coaching, my amateurish attempt didn’t materialize as a skill. Mr. Nanbu remarked,

“Perhaps the shape of your forehead is different.”

He also mentioned that. After that, we met a few times at a bar in Ginza, and he always enjoyed his drinks.

One day, the weekly magazine reporter who introduced us mentioned, 

“It seems that Mr. Nanbu has been advised to undergo artificial dialysis, but he is adamantly refusing to accept it. Those around him seem to be troubled. The reason seems to be that if he starts going to the hospital for dialysis, he won’t be able to perform on stage.”

He also informed me. In the end, about four and a half years ago, he underwent kidney transplant surgery with his wife, Yuki, as the donor. That is how focused he was on the stage in his life.

It is said that there were about 400 or more extreme acts in the Denki Network, but he once mentioned, 

“There were some scary ones too. If I said they were scary, I wouldn’t be allowed to perform them, so I do them with determination. When it gets a good response, that’s the privilege of a comedian.”

I remember him laughing as he said this.

Mr. Nanbu, who has been pushing his own body to the limit and delivering impactful performances.

“We are indifferent to taking care of our bodies. It’s all about how much of a fulfilling performance we can show to the audience.”

Which he has always said.

Nowadays, even Tetsuro Degawa, who is constantly appearing in commercials, used to stick his nose in crayfish. Ryuhei Ueshima from “Dacho Club” used to garner laughter by enduring hot baths and piping hot oden. Now, there seems to be a decrease in people willing to put their bodies on the line for variety shows.

A few days before Mr. Nanbu, Mr. Esper Ito, who died at the age of 63 from a disease called “epilepsy overlap,” was also showing off by diving under an unnetted tennis racket and jumping out of a small bag or sack.

At the wedding reception of a sports newspaper reporter, it even came out of the bag behind me as I was giving a speech. Later, he was spinning around with a bat on his head. This one trick was an incredible performance. I felt the greatness of the comedian.

Originally an aspiring actor, Mr. Nanbu auditioned for the late Akira Kurosawa’s “Kagemusha” in 1980 when he was a member of a theater troupe. It was to be his film debut.

While interacting with the audience at a strip theater in Shibuya, Tokyo, Nanbu’s stories, which had no script, were well received by the audience, which awakened his interest in comedy. He decided to form a comedy troupe with other “inedible” comedians around him.

He, along with Katsuhiro Higo, Simon Templeman, and Ryuhei Ueshima, formed “Dacho Club.” While initially the first leader, he eventually left due to differences in comedic styles. He then went on to create “Dengeki Network.”

And so, Mr. Nambu continued to escalate the intensity of his performances. His daring physical acts have left their mark even in the Reiwa era. Namu Amida Butsu.

  • Text Toshio Ishikawa, entertainment reporter

    Born in Tokyo in 1946. He has a unique career path from Shochiku's Advertising Department to a reporter for women's magazines to an entertainment reporter. He has appeared on "The Wide" and "Information Live Miyaneya" (both on Nippon Television Network Corporation), and currently appears regularly on "Mentai Wide" (Fukuoka Broadcasting System), "Su Matan" (Yomiuri TV), and Rainbow Town FM.

  • PHOTO Hiroyuki Komatsu

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