Work has been drastically reduced due to Complication & Corona! Ijiri Okada, who declared his life-ending activities, is now | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Work has been drastically reduced due to Complication & Corona! Ijiri Okada, who declared his life-ending activities, is now

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Even now, working in the entertainment industry is “too nerve-wracking and scary.

The other day, the TV personality Ijiri Okada made a splash when he declared on his YouTube channel, “Ijiri Channel,” that he has begun his “end-of-life” activities. What kind of feelings did he express? When we asked him directly, he quietly began to talk about memories from his childhood.

I have had a fear of death since I was in kindergarten. I used to cry every night. When I die, I will be buried and someone will come to visit my grave, but if the earth explodes, there will be nothing. I was so scared that everything would be nothing, and even after I grew up, I remember it at least once a month and get scared.

Ijiri says that he is scared in many ways. Even now, 35 years after his career in show business, he says he is still “too nervous and scared” to work in the entertainment industry.

He says he entered this world because of his admiration for Kinichi Hagimoto (Kin-chan), but why did he become a symbol of “eroticism”?

I started out as the first comedy act in Horipro’s first comedy slot, doing legitimate comedy. Then, when I turned 30 and was thinking of quitting the entertainment business if my name had not made it to the world, I was selected at the age of 27 for “Gilgamesh Naito” (“Gilgamesh”).

From the very first episode, I was wondering what I was doing while visiting the homes of sexy actresses and going through their personal belongings on location. I was conflicted. I was going to be on a show that was completely different from my own, and that represented the most erotic show in Japan, and when I realized it, the public’s image of me was terrible.

Ijiri Okada says he got into the business because of his admiration for Kin-chan (photo by Sugizo).

The legendary program “Gilgame” became a symbol of “eroticism”…

At first, Ijiri’s manager told him that “Gilgame” would probably be over in three months, but it turned out to be a popular program that lasted for six and a half years. The ratings continued to rise from 0.3% and 0.9%, and “Gilgame” even won in the ratings behind the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics.

I was the only one who could live here, so I felt I had to lead the way from the middle of the show. But the image of eroticism remained only for me. I was the one who did most of the location work, I was the one who turned the studio and did the corners, my name was Ijiri, and my erotic image had become firmly established.

Just as I was thinking that, Toei invited me to start “Tetsuwan Tantei Robotac”. Up until then, only men approached me, but after appearing in “Robotac,” I began to be approached by mothers and little boys.

Tetsuro Degawa’s comment triggered the resumption of pornography, which he had “sealed off” at the time.

Why did he resume pornography, which he had “sealed off” at that time?

Why did he resume eroticism, which he had “sealed off” at that time? I was asked to do a high-speed tongue job as part of a backstage visit to idol girls on “Ametoke! I had stopped doing ero, so I turned it down at first, but my manager told me to do it just once.

However, when I did the high-speed tongue for the first time in a long time, I could hear the unbelievable laughter in the studio through my earphones.

And then, comedians that I had never had much contact with before, such as the Ameagari Kesshitai, all came to my dressing room and said, “Ijiri-san, that was great. When I told him that I would not do it again, he said, “There are not so many laughs that make men get excited and women get disgusted at the same time. You have to do it. Those words saved me and made me want to do it again.

Ijiri has a strong image of “waking up in bed and surprising people,” but in fact, he has only done it a handful of times.

When I was invited to be on Mitsuyoshi Uchimura’s show and was told that I was a specialist in “sleep-wake-up surprises,” it was actually the third time since I started in show business that I had done it. I had only done it twice before, but I was called in as a specialist.

But the comedians who come after me say, ‘I’ve already done it all, so it’s hard for me to do it’ (laughs). (Laughs.) First it was Tsurutaro (Kataoka), then Tashiro (Masashi), Kuwaman (Nobuyoshi Kuwano), and others, and I had to add something to what my seniors had already done.

However, I am the type of person who needs to prepare carefully, so I am afraid to do a surprise when I wake up in my sleep. I’m the type of person who wants the script to be sent to me as soon as it’s ready, but I’m scared because I have no idea if there’s a toothbrush in the bathroom or not, or if there’s any food in the bathroom.

Besides, if I wake her up, it’s the end of the corner, so I ask only the floor plan first, have a room with the same layout prepared, and simulate it alone. I also check the sound when the door is unlocked, and sometimes I ask the manager to remove the guard lock from the inner door in advance because it would be the end of me if they lock the door.

A promotional photo taken in 1993, shortly after the broadcast of “Gilgamesh Inai” began. It was around 1996 that he changed to his trademark “wiggy head”.
In 1987, he formed the comedy duo “Kid Kat. The first talent in the comedy department of HORIPRO.

I still practice hard the day before a tongue-in-cheek job.

By the way, he says that the “high-speed tongue” was born after he thought of his own way to liven up the corner of “Gilgame Therapy Center” when the producer told him, “Don’t ever touch the sexy actresses.

While shaving in the bath, I thought, ‘It would be nice if this tongue moved fast,’ so I tried moving it, and it was fast (laughs). But when I look at it again now, I am embarrassed that it was so slow in the early days.

My tongue goes up and down so regularly. But when I was younger, I got tired in the middle, and it wasn’t regular, like up and down, up and down, up and down. The tongue is a muscle, so training is important, and even now, the day before a tongue job, I practice hard.”

One would think that the Corona disaster would have made high-speed tongue work more difficult, but there is a new “evolution” in this area.

I am still called upon to do it even with the Corona disaster,” he said. I also did it in front of a popular voice actor group called “22/7,” which is produced by Akimoto Yasushi. I had to do it for all of them, but since I couldn’t lick them all in one day, I chose one and said, ‘This girl has a good reaction, so let’s go with a toothbrush,’ put the toothbrush in a Ziploc and put the whole Ziploc in her mouth. I also have the staff hold the fork and use perspective to create a picture of them licking the fork. I can’t lick it in the Corona disaster, so I don’t actually lick it, but it would still be disgusting enough, so I said.

Besides, before the Corona, you have to fight the anticipation of, ‘What are you going to lick today?’ I had to fight the anticipation of “What are you going to lick today? I would ask them to get me a big magnifying glass so I could get a big picture of their lips, or I would ask them to show themselves in the mirror as if we were twins so they would think I was licking their personal belongings with two people.”

The show promises to elicit screams from female idols and female talent, but there is also this challenge.

When “NOGIBINGO!” first started, everyone said they hated it, but by the third season, they stopped screaming and said to Ikuchan (Erika Ikuta), “Ijiri-san’s tongue is fast and beautiful. It’s already a sales obstruction.

Ijiri says that he has found himself on a path far removed from the image of a comedian that he had envisioned. However, he says he was lucky.

I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for ‘Gilgame.’ I had an image of eroticism, and because of that gap, I was able to be in a show with the Nogizaka girls. What I value most in my work is preparation (laughs). This is what I value in my work. If I don’t prepare to my satisfaction, I am the one who will be embarrassed. If I prepare and things don’t go well, I can give up, but if I fail without preparation, I will never recover.

  • Interview and text by Wakako Takou

    Born in 1973. After working for a publishing company and an advertising production company, became a freelance writer. She interviews actors for weekly and monthly magazines and writes drama columns for various media. Her main publications include "All Important Things Are Taught by Morning Drama" (Ota Publishing), "KinKiKids: Owarinaki Michi" and "Hey!Say!JUMP: When 9 Tobira Open" (both from Earls Publishing).

  • Photography Sugizo

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