Masahiro Nakai Opens Up, Confessions of Past Anger Revealed in Exclusive Interview – Renowned for Sharp Wit, Reflects on Personal Growth | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Masahiro Nakai Opens Up, Confessions of Past Anger Revealed in Exclusive Interview – Renowned for Sharp Wit, Reflects on Personal Growth

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In a moment during the direct interview, Nakai emitted an atmosphere that hinted at a sudden burst of anger.(June 10, 2005 issue)

“It wasn’t about speaking the truth or conveying passionate feelings. I was really just angry.”

On March 1st, Masahiro Nakai appeared on the TBS program “Masahiro Nakai’s Friday Smile Special,” where he addressed a past incident on a program he once appeared in. The incident involved him losing his temper, which was aired, and subsequently apologizing.

The program in question was Masahiro Nakai’s Family Conference, which aired intermittently as a special program from 1999 to 2003 on TBS. In the video footage, a young person who had experienced bullying appeared, wearing a string wrapped around their wrist as a talisman. When the young people on the panel mocked with comments like “That’s gross!” and “Creepy,” Nakai exploded:

“What the hell is wrong with you guys!”

He yelled and engaged in a heated exchange. Finally, he approached the young people, saying, 

“Hey! What’s your problem!” 

Even when his co-stars tried to restrain him, he continued to glare at the youth until the video ended. Nakai explained the reason for his behavior, saying, “It was during the heyday of idols,” and apologized, smiling awkwardly.

During Nakai’s late twenties to early thirties, it was the heyday of SMAP. During this time, Nakai portrayed a character resembling a former delinquent. He starred in the drama series ‘Aji Ichi monme’ on TV Asahi starting from 1995, where he was known for confronting the director and having a tense relationship with co-star Masayuki Imai (who passed away in 2015).” (TV magazine writer)

However, a veteran executive from a longstanding entertainment agency who knew Nakai’s era well stated, “But it’s not that he was just prone to anger.”

“Anyway, he’s earnest and passionate. His outburst toward the youth on ‘Family Conference’ stemmed from his strong sense of justice, as he couldn’t tolerate opinions that seemed to condone bullying. Even in ‘Aji Ichi monme,’ he just got too heated about his acting and lost his temper. Sure, he may have flown off the handle at times, but he’s quick-witted, and in his natural state, he’s quite composed. I think it’s because he has so many lovable qualities that he’s been able to stay at the forefront for so long.”

“FRIDAY” has also faced off with Nakai in moments of tension several times. While his attitude and words may be rough, there were scenes that made you chuckle involuntarily. Let’s take a look back.



“Read the room, will ya? Come on, man.”

It was late May 2005 when Masahiro Nakai (then 32), a member of “SMAP,” landed at Narita Airport on a return flight from Hawaii. By his side were what seemed to be his father and a woman holding a baby, indicating it was likely a family trip back from Hawaii. There were a total of seven people, including Nakai, and among them was his girlfriend at the time, whom he had been dating for two years.

“Last year around this time, Nakai-san also took his girlfriend on a trip to Hawaii with his family. They stayed in a suite room at a luxury hotel in Waikiki and all slept on the floor. Of course, he covered all the expenses from the plane tickets to the accommodation,” said an acquaintance of Nakai.

With his girlfriend seemingly approved by the Nakai family, marriage might have been on the horizon. As reporters were about to approach him with this thought in mind, Nakai noticed them first and approached.

“Who are you?” he asked. When the reporter replied, “We’re from Friday. Who did you travel with?” Nakai responded,

 “My family. Oh, it’s you.” 

He then noticed the camera behind the reporter and his demeanor suddenly changed.

“Wow, so many people here, huh? Read the room, will ya? Come on, man.”

Despite sounding quite irritated, Nakai was still attentive to his surroundings. Moreover, by using dialect, he managed to ease the tension somewhat. When asked if his girlfriend was also on this trip, he responded sharply, 

“I don’t know! Who’s asking that anyway?” 

and then walked away. Interestingly, I actually approached Nakai for an interview two years prior. In 2003, when we reported on his cohabitation with the aforementioned girlfriend, Nakai spotted me first while I was conducting interviews from a car. He approached and said, “Who are you? From Friday, right?”

“Ah, come on, don’t play dumb. You’re good, but it’s already obvious. Besides, your reaction just now (referring to the journalist’s bewildered reaction) was so boring. Geez, what’s up with that? I thought I could still keep it under wraps after moving, but it’s already out there… And you’re hiding the camera behind, huh? Show me the back. Can’t show it, huh? (while pulling the knob of the rear seat) I’ll just open it.”

His excitement escalated, saying, 

“I feel lonely, you know. I’m just having a man-to-man chat with you. I just want to know when and where the article will come out. I’m not trying to invalidate your job. I get where you’re coming from. But come on, let’s have a man-to-man chat without all this fuss.

It’s not clearing things up in my mind this way, you know. It’s unsettling for you too, right? Alright, I won’t report this to the agency either. You’re from Friday, right? Seriously, stop sneaking around. Alright, be careful on your way back. That’s it.”

He turned on his heel and headed back home after speaking rapidly.


Nakai left Johnny’s office in February 2020, and during his press conference, he warmly welcomed the media, even hyping them up before the conference began. He seems to have softened considerably recently. Still, one can’t help but hope to see more of his witty “Kiregei” (sharp retorts) in the future.

Masahiro Nakai walks up to this magazine’s reporter at the airport (June 10, ’05 issue)
Masahiro Nakai stiffens for a moment when interviewed directly by this magazine (May 30, 2003 issue).
Masahiro Nakai enlivens the audience at his press conference on his departure from Johnny’s (February ’20).
  • PHOTO Sota Shima (1st and 2nd), Toshihiro Nakaikawa, Shinji Hasuo

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