Nippon TV Threatens to Lose Control by Encouraging New Members of Shoten and Compelling Them to Lie and Keep Silent | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Nippon TV Threatens to Lose Control by Encouraging New Members of Shoten and Compelling Them to Lie and Keep Silent

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Tachikawa Harusuke, who was selected as a regular member of “Sho-ten” in place of Master Hayashiya Kikuosan, faced hardships until the announcement.

When it comes to selecting the cast for Shoten (Nippon TV), I suddenly thought about it.

“Who will be the next Gochi member?”

“Who will be the next Sho-ten member?”

These have become trademark questions of the same network.

“Who will be the next Gochi member?’ from ‘Gurunai’ never becomes an article. This is because there are many entertainers eligible, and becoming a Gochi member doesn’t drastically change their lives,” said a TV magazine writer.

However, it’s different in the case of Shoten.

In Tokyo and Osaka, among approximately 1000 rakugo performers, obtaining a zabuton (cushion) on “Shoten” brings immense benefits.

“Invitations from regional rakugo gatherings come one after another. Even Shinoharu Tei Noritaka, Hayashitei Taihei, Shunpuutei Ichinosuke, and Katsura Miyaji earn most of their income from regional performances on weekends,” relayed rakugo insiders.

“Even Sanyutei Koraku, who markets himself as a free-spirited character, frequently appears at regional rakugo gatherings. Being a Sho-ten member alone can earn you money,” added the same rakugo insider.

That’s the power of Shoten; being on the show means you sell. 

And the new member, rakugo artist Tachikawa Harusuke (51), became the talk of the town overnight.


“The response seemed tremendous; he was happily complaining, saying, ‘I feel like I’m drowning in emails and LINE messages.'”

A fellow rakugo artist, seemingly envious, revealed this.

After the broadcast of Shoten, Harusuke, appearing on the live broadcast of “Shinso Hodo Bankisha!” (Nippon TV), first said, 

“To those who kept silent, I’m sorry.”

He then expressed words of apology.

“This is precisely the issue with the new member hype. They force comedians to apologize. Furthermore, Harusuke continued to lie. Even if someone asked him, ‘Aren’t you the next member?’ he had no choice but to say, ‘No, it’s not me,'” explained an entertainment writer.

Harunosuke said on the show,

“I was really told that if I leaked it, I would lose my regular spot on Shoten.”

Harunosuke revealed on the program that he had been pressured by Nippon TV.


“The same thing has been heard from Ichinosuke and Miyaji. Harusuke claims he informed his family the day before the broadcast, but Sanpei mentioned that his family only found out by watching the broadcast.

Miyaji had to decline a prior commitment to a rakugo gathering that coincided with the Saturday recording and had to apologize profusely to the organizers, saying, ‘I double-booked.’ This is how Nippon TV operates,” explained the same entertainment writer.”

The silence of the individual due to pressure from Nippon TV, coupled with the fact that other comedians are affected, is also a detrimental aspect of this booking hype.

“Various media outlets publish speculative articles. This time as well, articles were written speculating whether it would be Choukaro Momoka or Katsura Futaba for women, or Yanagiya Wasabi or Shunputei Shoya for men. It’s fine up to that point.

However, fellow professionals and audience members read these articles and constantly ask them, ‘Are you a Shoten member?’ This is something that comedians are fed up with. Even if they clearly say, ‘It’s not me,’ people won’t believe it because Ichinosuke also lied like that,” explained a rakugo insider.

Taking a breath here, let’s continue like this.

“In fact, Momoka, who held a press conference for her own association’s PR just before, firmly asserted, ‘It’s definitely not me,’ and Shoya, a disciple of the host Shunputei Shota, also stated at a rakugo performance he attended, ‘It’s not me.’

It’s part of the job to answer questions when you’re in a popular business, but Nippon TV could simply announce the next member promptly after Master Kikuosan’s retirement announcement, without dragging it out. Perhaps it’s time for Nippon TV to stop relying on Gochi members and Shoten members to draw in viewers. It’s unlikely they’ll continue with Heisei-era methods forever,” remarked the same rakugo insider.

In recent member changes, there were no leaks of information with Sanpei Hayashiya, Miyaji Katsura, and Ichinosuke Shunputei consecutively, showing robust information management. However, this time was different.

“On the morning of the broadcast day, ‘Weekly Women’s Prime’ identified Harusuke. It was a scoop. Actually, sports papers had the information, but with a restriction that the embargo would lift at 5:37 PM,” mentioned a sports paper reporter.

Despite recording at Nippon TV’s headquarters in Kojimachi just before airing and almost broadcasting it as a live recording, there was a leak of information this time. This announcement of the new member makes one feel like it’s time to end the ‘tedious tradition’ of forcing silence and lies upon the relevant comedian and involving other comedians.

Anyway, Master Harusuke is a nice guy! Hang in there!

  • Interview and text by Watabe Wataru

    After working as a desk clerk in the culture department of an evening newspaper, an editorial staff member of a publishing company, and a copywriter, Watabe became a freelance entertainment writer. He covers all aspects of the entertainment industry, including movies, theater, acting, and music. He also writes undercover as a ghostwriter for celebrity books and other publications

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