The death of a longtime friend and the “Matsumoto Hitoshi riot” coincide… Fans express concern about the mental state of ex-SMAP “Masahiro Nakai. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The death of a longtime friend and the “Matsumoto Hitoshi riot” coincide… Fans express concern about the mental state of ex-SMAP “Masahiro Nakai.

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LINE
Masahiro Nakai announces his departure from Johnny’s at a press conference on February 21, 2008.

Former SMAP member Masahiro Nakai made his first appearance on the Internet TV station ABEMA on March 20, appearing as a guest from Seoul, Korea, where the MLB season opener “Dodgers vs. Padres” was being broadcast, with a big smile on his face as he was working on his favorite baseball game. However, on the same day, it was revealed that someone close to Nakai had passed away behind the scenes. Sadness spread among his fans.

Nakai’s fans came in contact with the sudden sad news through a post on X (formerly Twitter). It said that Mr. Jun Kobayashi, aka “Kobayashi-kun,” a long-time supporter of the radio program on which Nakai was a personality, had passed away, and a farewell party was held to say goodbye.

At 7 p.m. on August 20, Tomoei Shimpo, a former Nippon Broadcasting System employee who is now a freelance announcer, reported, “I went to the farewell party for Mr. Jun Kobayashi, aka Mr. Kobajun, the radio director who was a great help to me” (original text in Japanese, same below). The post included a photo of the venue, which showed flowers offered by Nakai.

Nakai often talked to a staff member named “Mr. Kobayashi” on his radio show “Nakai Masahiro ON & ON AIR” (Nippon Broadcasting System, Inc.). Last February, “Masahiro Nakai’s All Night Nippon” went on the air to commemorate the 55th anniversary of the station’s late-night program “All Night Nippon. There, Nakai recalled that he has been working with Kobayashi since he was in charge of “All Night Nippon” from November ’93 to October ’94. He was like my manager at Nippon Broadcasting System,’ and ‘I have known him for more than 30 years.

Fans who thought that Mr. Jun Kobayashi was “Kobayashi,” who appears on Nakai’s radio show, were surprised to hear that Mr. Kobayashi was the same person who appeared on Nakai’s radio show,

No way! That Mr. Kobayashi?
I always enjoyed listening to his conversations with Nakai, so I don’t want to believe ……. Nakai must be devastated.
I’m so surprised, I’m speechless. I’m so surprised I’m speechless. ……

The “Nakai-kun” is a very popular Japanese baseball player.

In a blog entry dated March 20, Yukinobu Tano, who used to work as a director at Nippon Broadcasting System, revealed the circumstances: “Jun Kobayashi a.k.a. Kobajun, a senior director in my radio days, passed away at the young age of 54. He had been battling with the disease since 2020, but he kept it a secret from those around him.

The farewell party was held on March 20 at “The Peninsula Tokyo,” a hotel near Nippon Broadcasting System, where many industry people had gathered.

Meanwhile, on February 13, Shoichi Kuroki, a well-known producer at Fuji Television who worked on “SMAP x SMAP” (Fuji TV) and other programs, also died of leukemia at the age of 54.

Nakai and Mr. Kuroki had been in close contact in their private lives, regularly going out to eat together. Nakai once played the role of Hiromasa Nakayama, a character modeled on Kuroki, in the “SMAP x SMAP” comedy “Dame Ningen Desuwa” (I’m a Bad Person).

Therefore, after Mr. Kuroki, fans learned of Mr. Kobayashi’s passing,

I can’t believe I just found out about Mr. Kobayashi’s passing while I’m watching MLB live on ABEMA with Nakai-kun. ……
Mr. Kuroki, who always supported Nakai, and now Mr. Kobayashi, too. ……
I’m so worried about him.
Nakai-san was so excited during the baseball game. I know it must be tough for him, but he’s a pro.

He was very sympathetic to Nakai’s feelings.

Downtown’s Hitoshi Matsumoto, who is good friends with Nakai both publicly and privately, is on hiatus after allegations of sexual assault were made. Nakai must be in a constant state of emotional distress, since his close friends, including Matsumoto, have left him one after another. The variety show “Matsumo to Nakai” (Fuji TV), in which Nakai and Matsumoto worked together, was relaunched as “Dareka to Nakai” on February 4. Kazuya Ninomiya of Arashi was chosen to replace Matsumoto as MC, who will play the lead role in the Sunday theater “Blackpean Season 2” (TBS) in the July season. Since the airing time of “Dareka to Nakai” on Sundays at 9 p.m. is the same as that of “Dareka to Nakai,” Ninomiya and Nakai will probably end up working together before the drama starts.

Nakai himself had to take a leave of absence due to poor health in 2010. We hope that he will take it easy and rest his mind and body.

  • PHOTO Shinji Hasuo

Photo Gallery1 total

Photo Selection

Check out the best photos for you.

Related Articles