Currently has over 900,000 registered users! A pioneer of comedian YouTubers
The YouTube channel “Girly Record Channel” is made up of four NSC Tokyo 17 students: Keisuke Takai and Phoenix from the comedy duo Girly Record, Masaaki Aminomiya and Taro Akiyama. Currently, they have over 900,000 registered users, and in 2019, they became a pioneering group of comedian YouTubers, gaining popularity with their “kisai zan” (care cutting).
We asked them to look back at their footsteps to date and talk about a wide range of topics, such as YouTube’s revenue situation, episodes with their classmate KUKI KAIDAN, and what they want to do after reaching one million.
I’ve been made fun of for a long time… When I performed with Kajsaq, I realized that YouTube is a dream come true.
–Currently, you have 933,000 subscribers (as of December 10, 2021), and it’s been about four and a half years since you launched your channel in July 2017.
Aminomiya: I wasn’t expecting that at all, I thought I’d have 500,000 users in three or five years, and then slowly build up to a million or so. My goal was to reach 100,000 people in a year or two, but I reached 500,000 people in two years.
If you’re a YouTube fan and watch YouTube, you know how easy it is to increase your numbers. If you’re a YouTube fan and watch it, you know what kind of channel would grow if you collaborated with this kind of person. It’s not that we don’t collaborate, it’s just that what we do doesn’t benefit the other person. I really don’t know why we were able to reach 930,000 people like that.
–What did you think when Yuta Kajiwara of King Kong opened “Kazisak’s Room” in 2018 and said he was aiming for one million users?
Phoenix: I happened to meet him backstage at Lumine the year the “Kazi Sack Room” started, and we talked for a bit. He told us that there were a lot of things he didn’t understand, so he asked us to teach him. He also went around to other senior members to tell them that we were starting something like this, and asked for their cooperation.
We didn’t look down on YouTube and say, “We can do it,” but we were really serious about it.
Takai: They created a character for YouTube and had a strategy. That’s completely different from us, and we couldn’t have done it like that. I first talked to them when we were collaborating, so when they first opened, I was like, “Wow, that’s amazing.
Taro: We’ve always been made fun of for doing YouTube, so it was really encouraging to see someone with that kind of career really taking it seriously. I’m from the generation that watched “Haneru no Tobira” (Fuji TV), so I was really happy when I got to collaborate with Kazisak. If I had been a regular comedian, I probably would have ended up not talking to him for the rest of my life. In that sense, I think YouTube is a dream come true.
Aminomiya: I’m very lucky. When Kajsaq entered the market, it opened up a whole new path for us. In the beginning, Yoshimoto started to focus on YouTube, and they changed all the revenue sharing so that it would benefit the comedians. That’s why we take the liberty of calling him “Boss” (laughs).
Takai: That’s how much I owe him. He may be small in stature, but he’s a big boss.
When they came out with “Kizai Zan”, I thought, “Seriously, look at me! I thought.
–In 2019, “chi chi zan” went viral, and the Garry Record Channel was introduced in “Shabekuri 007” (Nippon Television Network Corporation). At the time, it was rare for a comedian who became a hot topic on YouTube to appear on TV.
Phoenix : We were suddenly going to be on a major TV show, too. So we just thought, “This is what the studio is like,” and didn’t really think about preparing anything.
Aminomiya: At the time, I was often told by the other comedians around me that I was doing YouTube. That’s why, when I appeared on “Shabekuri 007” with my song “Kizai Zan”, I thought, “Seriously, look at me! I thought to myself (laughs).
(laughs) Takai: At the time (laughs), we didn’t appear on the show for the story or the talk. Takai: At the time (laughs), we weren’t there to tell stories or talk about anything, but we were really happy to see how excited the audience was at the actual event.
Phoenix: I was also very happy that the senior members of the group said it was okay. On the way home in the elevator after the recording was over.
Taro: Mr. Teppei Arita said, “It’s funny, let me borrow it. Taro: Teppei Arita said, “It’s funny, let me borrow it, I’ll have a drink with Taizo Harada later. and so on. I received a lot of kind words from all the regular members.
Takai: More than anything, the actor Issei Takahashi was the first one to tell us that he liked us. I think that influenced more people to think that it was okay for me to say it too. At the time, it was hard to say you liked a comedian who was on YouTube. But since you said it, I’ve been able to get a lot of people to say they like me. So I can only thank you. I can’t thank you enough for that show and those members.
Aminomiya: I’m a cynical person, so when I see people who said “I don’t do YouTube” at the time have recently started YouTube or TikTok, it makes me want to have a drink (laughs). (laughs) I see that people are starting to do things because they are popular, and I think that makes for good drinking.
Takai: I think the way people look at us changed after we appeared on the golden screen.
Aminomiya: What we’ve been doing is different from what “successful people” do, and at the time, there was a lot of criticism.
Even though the number of subscribers increased, the revenue didn’t jump from there.
–How long did it take you to be able to live without a part-time job after you started Garry Records Channel?
Aminomiya: When the channel was launched, Phoenix was still working part-time. From there, there was a time when you borrowed about 200,000 yen because you wanted to raise it every day, right?
Phoenix : Yes, my father lent me the money. He was quite reluctant to lend me money, but I guess because I’d never borrowed money from my parents before, he finally understood, and in the summer of 2018, I took a day off from my part-time job and just shot videos. I was able to pay off the debt in a few months.
Taro: I stopped working around the end of 2018. When I moved out of my parents’ house, my dad gave me 30,000 yen to start with (laughs), so I worked myself to death until then. But one day I got sick and called in to say I was going to take a day off, and he said, “Well, you’re fired,” and that was it. To be honest, I think I contributed quite a bit to the company (laughs), but since 2019, I’m not wealthy, but if I save money, I can live without a part-time job.
Phoenix: We started a little earlier, in the summer of 2018, when we stopped working part-time. We’ve been dividing our earnings into four equal parts since the beginning.
Takai: But things haven’t changed that much since then. Even though the number of registered users has increased, it doesn’t mean that the revenue has jumped all the way up from there. I feel like I’m still earning enough to make a living.
Aminomiya: It started out with a bang, and then it’s been slowly increasing. Sometimes it goes down and sometimes it goes up.
–It’s like we’re making enough money for the four of us to live on. How different is your income compared to what is called “comedy” income?
Phoenix: I don’t know how many times ……, but it’s almost all from the Garry Records channel.
Aminomiya: Depending on the time of year, it could be a thousand times more (laughs). (laughs) I know it’s a typical thing for Yoshimoto comedians, but there are times when I’m like, “How can I get this kind of money? (laughs). I think 4 yen is the lowest, and it’s like 4 yen after withholding tax is deducted from 5 yen.
Taro: I once received two pay slips, and I thought, “Wow, I got it! (laughs). (laughs) I guess the numbers are too small to begin with.
Phoenix: If I wasn’t doing YouTube, I’d be in a lot of trouble. That’s why I can’t imagine not having a Garry Records channel.
Aminomiya: I might have quit my job as a comedian.
Taro: Maybe I wouldn’t have been able to continue, but YouTube has really given me hope.
The reaction of Katamari Mizukawa, the KUKI KAIDAN who lived with me
–When you look back now, why do you think the Garry Records channel has gained so much support?
Phoenix: Considering the fact that most of the people who watch our channel are male, I think there are a certain number of people who followed a similar route when they were in school, or have similar circumstances to some extent. I think I’ve managed to come this far because I found those people.
Aminomiya: In a sense, our channel is like a convenience store. It’s not like a convenience store where you can just pop in and say, “Let’s go out for dinner somewhere” or “Let’s go eat at that place. There are a lot of different products, but what you see is usually fixed, and sometimes there are products that are just for fun. Our videos have an atmosphere reminiscent of such scenes, so I think people feel nostalgic about them.
Taro: Yeah, maybe it’s the casualness of a convenience store. Rather than saying, “Okay, I’m going to watch it,” people can just look at it and say, “Let’s have a look. I think that’s what made it so addictive for me.
Takai: I don’t think it’s such a foolish thing to try to get all generations hooked. It’s probably impossible with the way we do things. If that’s the case, we should just do what we like, what we think is fun, and believe that there are people who can relate to that.
–For a while, you lived with Katamari Mizukawa of KUKI KAIDAN, right? When you saw them win this year’s King of Contrast, you must have been deeply moved by each other’s success.
Phoenix: I immediately said, “You did it! I said to him. When we were living together, we had a habit of going to a coffee shop every Friday and writing stories. At that time, I often looked at Katamari’s scripts, and I already had a feeling that she was going to the finals. He was writing stuff that I never would have thought of.
That’s why I thought I should have told the people around me more. If I had, people would have said, “Oh, he was aware of it then” (laughs). (laughs) At the time, I was already doing YouTube, so I would show people the videos I took and ask them if they found them interesting. I would show them the videos I took and ask them if they found them interesting.
Takai: Recently, on KUKI KAIDAN radio, you said, “If things had been different, I might have started the Garry Records channel. Taro, who was living with us, joined the band in the middle of the project, so he might have been successful on YouTube (laughs). (laughs) So Mogura would be in Taro’s place.
Taro: It was definitely a possibility (laughs). (laughs) The only reason I joined was because we live together.
Aminomiya: As for Mogura, we’ve had our baby gifts and wedding gifts ripped off. It’s like he just appeared out of nowhere and said, “Hey, I just got married” (laughs).
Takai: I’m the same way with Mogura, but when we made it to the finals of last year’s King of Comedy, Katamari asked me to lend him money. I lent him about 30,000 yen, and he said, “Let’s bet with this 30,000 yen. I’m going to win the championship this year for sure. If I win, I’ll turn this 30,000 into 50,000 and pay you back. But if I don’t win, I won’t give it back. What do you think, Takai?” I was forced to choose between the two options.
Phoenix: That’s a crazy thing to say (laughs).
Takai: Since we were classmates, I said, “All right. I took the bet and said, “Okay, win and give me back 50,000. In the end, I couldn’t make it that year, but this year I won. Recently, when I asked him about the 30,000 I lent him, he said, “That was the previous year, so no thanks. I’ll never pay you back” (laughs). (laughs) That was so frustrating! (laughs). I was so frustrated! This year, I could have gotten the extra money back.
I want to kick the real Genji Yonezu when I reach 1 million registered users!
— “I want to kick the real Genji Yonezu when he reaches one million subscribers” will be broadcast live for 48 hours starting December 25. This is a project to eat 1,000 hamburgers, but did you try to make it YouTuber-like?
Taro: It’s definitely the most YouTube-like. I’ve never done anything like that before, but this is the first time I’m doing something like that (laughs).
Phoenix: We started out by saying that there was a room available. The manager and I were talking about how we were about to have a million people, and we decided to do a thousand hamburgers.
Takai: At first it was just for one day, but then we thought, “The day before that is also free, and the day before that is also free ……”, so we decided to do it for three days. So we just decided to do it for three days. The only problem was when to go to bed. We haven’t thought about the details of the plan yet.
Aminomiya: On the other hand, I thought it might be a good idea to sleep on the first day (laughs). I’m going to throw away the 25th and start eating on the 26th and 27th.
Taro: It’s such a waste that everyone is watching! (laughs) I want to do something for Christmas more than anything else.
–In any case, please take care of yourself and do your best (laughs). Is there anything you would like to do when you reach one million registered users?
Aminomiya: I would like to repay Issei Takahashi, DAIGO, and Keiko Kitagawa for their support. They also come to see our live performances, so a project to thank them would be good.
Taro: I’d like to report that we’ve reached one million people and say “thank you very much”.
Takai: I wonder if we could get Physical Education Okazaki to write a song for us? We haven’t even been able to invite them to our live performances yet, so we’d like to thank them and also report that we’ve reached one million people. I would also like to express my gratitude to various people, such as Tatsuya Fujiwara, who has been letting me do his impersonations. However, I don’t know Yonezu (Genji), so it might be too early to tell him.
Aminomiya: I’d like to kick him like in our video “Genji Yonezu holding a mitt,” but I just said “……” as a light joke, but my lips are trembling (laughs).
Phoenix: Absolutely impossible (laughs). You’re so thin.
Takai: You probably have a surprisingly large trunk. I want to kick the real Yonezu-san someday. If you do, I’ll be the one to say “woof”. I’ll be in charge of the “woof”.
Taro: I’d love for you to come to my house and do it. Anyway, I hope that Mr. Yonezu gets the gratitude he deserves! If I had to, I’d stretch it out to 10 minutes and give him a hard-hitting advertisement (laughs).
Aminomiya: If we do that, we’re finished (laughs). I don’t care what you do! Come and eat a hamburger!
Interview and text by： Asahi Suzuki
Freelance editor/writer. Former band member and broadcast writer. Likes all kinds of entertainment. He especially respects comedians. Currently updating his personal website "Immortal Writing Blues". http://s-akira.jp/