Former “Plus Minus” Iwahashi Reveals the Influence of the Newcomer Competition Issue on M-1 | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Former “Plus Minus” Iwahashi Reveals the Influence of the Newcomer Competition Issue on M-1

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SNS revelations are causing ripples for former Plus/Minus member Iwahashi (right). What does his partner Kanemitsu think of the unilateral dissolution announcement?

Former comedian from the duo Plus/Minus, Yoshimasa Iwahashi, amidst his Airsoft Gun Controversy with Yoko Maki, another dispute seems poised to create even larger ripples in the future.

Iwahashi has been exposing staged incidents at the “Kitagawa-uchi Newcomer Comedy Contest,” organized by Yoshimoto Kogyo, on X and live broadcasts. Given that Iwahashi is originally from Katano, he was involved in the judging process of this contest. It’s said that the event was directed by veteran scriptwriter Masanji Maeda.

FromMr. Maeda,

“Well, since it’s a Yoshimoto event, let’s make sure we don’t let other agencies win.”

He revealed that he was told this.

“I thought, ‘Huh?!’ I thought, ‘What is a comedian’s life all about?'”

And he showed his frustration.

In fact, upon checking the website of the same event, it seems that the winners of the Best Newcomer Award for all three competitions were duos from Yoshimoto Kogyo.

“Mr. Maeda is a former comedian from the first generation of NSC, in the same cohort as Downtown. He also served as a judge for the M-1 Grand Prix qualifiers. It seems that, as per ABC’s intention to rejuvenate from last year, Mr. Maeda has been removed from the judging panel.” (Sports newspaper reporter)

The revelations by Iwahashi had temporarily subsided, but they were reignited by communications from other judges.

“I testify as one of the judges of the Kitagawa-uchi Comedy Contest that it is staged. The scores of the other judges were meaningless.”

This testimony was given by the current Mayor of Katano, Kei Yamamoto. It is customary for the Mayor of Katano to serve as a judge at the same event, and he participated in it.

“I can’t believe Iwahashi from Plus/Minus, who spoke the truth, is being terminated from his contract. I can’t accept this.”

“I can’t stay silent anymore.”

 And with reassuring support, Iwahashi replied

“Yoshimoto-san! A public figure is saying this. Yoshimoto is also going to do a lot of public work from now on, right? Can we get a comment, please? Suspending activities indefinitely without even checking the facts properly, just to show deference to other agencies, and then quickly bowing and apologizing to everyone around. Weak. The public figure has more courage.”

He also criticized the system of the competition.

“They were charging 500 yen per participating comedian, I didn’t know about that. From the audience, they were collecting 2500 yen in advance and 3000 yen on the day of the event. Staged at that contest. This is insane. Wait, this smells like fraud.”

And Maeda, who has already been identified on the internet, commented on X on the 25th:


“I have already responded to an ‘interview’ with a certain media outlet, along with the chairman of the event organizers, emphasizing that there was absolutely no staging involved, including the judging process. There was no situation that would allow for such a thing, and it’s a big misunderstanding on their part. I provided a detailed report.”

However, he is completely denying the suspicions.

“Mr. Maeda denies any staging suspicions, and unless there is evidence of instructions from Yoshimoto Kogyo to Mr. Maeda, there will be no further investigation. If we admit to such things, it will undermine the credibility of other contests as well.

M-1, R-1, King of Conte, THE SECOND, The W, and almost all other famous comedy contests are organized or supported by Yoshimoto Kogyo. If the public becomes aware of the backstage of the Kitagawa-uchi comedy contest, there is a possibility that they will view other contests with suspicion as well. If that happens, it could even affect the raison d’être of contests like M-1.” (Television industry insider)

For comedians who desperately dream of success and spend their days crafting jokes, this staging suspicion should be an issue that cannot be overlooked.


  • PHOTO Yoshio Tsunoda/Afro

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