KAGAYA, the Contriver, Talks about “Three More Years!” to Win the KOC Championship The True Meaning of “Three more years! | FRIDAY DIGITAL

KAGAYA, the Contriver, Talks about “Three More Years!” to Win the KOC Championship The True Meaning of “Three more years!

2022 Road to M-1 and KOC: "Kagaya" [Part 1

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2019 In 2006, a “seventh generation boom” of young comedians swept through the comedy world. One duo that has emerged as a force to be reckoned with is Sho Kaga and Soya Kaga of Kaga-ya. As the preliminary reviews indicated, they made it to the final of “King of Conte 2019” as the hottest contortionists. They received high praise from Bananaman’s Osamu Shitara, who was a judge at the time.

Three years have passed since then, with Kaga not participating in 2020 due to his recuperation period, and last year he suffered a tough time, losing in the semifinals. With a number of comedians following in their footsteps, what are their thoughts going into this year’s competition? We asked them about what they felt after watching last year’s competition, the reality of the conte unit, their rivals at the moment, and other frank thoughts.

Sho Kaga (left) and Soya Kaya (right) of the duo “Kaga-ya,” which emerged during the “Seventh Generation Boom” (photo by Sugiso)

The 2019 competition may have lacked “hunger

-It has been about three years since I became a finalist in the “King of Conte 2019”. You must have been under a lot of pressure since you were the center of attention at that time.

Kaga: There was a lot of pressure. In the pre-programs and so on, you were ranked number one, I think?

Kaya: I don’t know if I was ranked first or not, but I remember Jaljal mentioned my name in the program as a “young person to watch out for” and that really scared me. I was really scared, a lot. He said something like, “You both have interesting faces.

Kaga: He said something like, “I really like you. I thought, “That Jaljal? I thought, “That Jaljal! I was so excited and said that was enough. So, to be honest, I may not have had enough “hunger. It’s not like I was in a period of popularity (laughs), but it was the only time in my life where I could have my favorite comedians tell me they liked me.

Kaya: The sense of accomplishment of “making it to the finals” may have been one of the reasons why I wasn’t hungry enough.

Kaya: Yes, yes. Of course there was pressure to do well, but at the time I was more thankful.

–The piece we performed in the finals was about a man holding a rose and waiting in a coffee shop to propose to his girlfriend, and there were many dark turns. Wasn’t there a fear that this would reset the laughter?

Kaga: The laughter is reset. …… I see. In that sense, we rather tried to differentiate the way we showed our work. I had in my mind, “King of Conte should have this kind of material and this kind of development.

But that year we were fighting under kickboxing rules, and we brought in another martial art. We decided to do something that might not be the most popular, but would leave a lasting impression on the audience, so we chose a story with a lot of dark turns.

–Unfortunately, we did not make it to the final stage, but we received a high rating of 94 points from the judge at the time, Mr. Osamu Shitara of Bananaman.

Kaga: I was so happy. I will never forget that moment. The biggest reason why I started my career as a comedian was because I admired Mr. Bananaman.

Kaya:We have been saying that since the beginning. I was extremely happy.

When I saw last year’s competition, I thought, “Please give me three more years! I thought.

–The King of Conte will not participate in the 2020 King of Conte because it coincides with Mr. Kaga’s leave of absence. Last year, we unfortunately lost in the semifinals. Is there any reason for your loss other than the fact that you had just returned to work?

Kaga:We had no more material. Some of the audience asked me, “Why did you do that story? or I even got angry with them.

Kaya: I like baseball, so I often wonder “Why did you choose this batting order?

Kaya: I’m sure he is thinking about the King of Conte the most. But I can’t help having that kind of reaction. I also want people to understand that I went out there as a result of my worries. …… Conversely, I was frustrated because the reaction came as I imagined it would be called that. The reason for my defeat is that I feel like I didn’t have the muscle training period in time to put the contraption in front of people.

Gaya: I think it’s a great achievement just to make it to the semifinals of the King of Conte, where the level is so high. Even last year’s finals were full of really good material.

Kaga:That’s true. To be honest, last year I thought there were no gaps. I thought, “Well, that can’t be helped. Even if we had done good material, I don’t think we would have been able to get in there. Of course, KUKI KAIDAN, who won the competition, as well as Gerardon and Frogman, all looked amazing.

–I was also impressed by the fresh faces of The Mummy, Male Blanco, and others.

Gaya: People I’ve always gotten along with backstage came out in order. It was a very strange feeling.

Kaga:It was really only people I knew. It was like a live concert where my favorite seniors came out in order (laughs). It was a great event and really amazing. It was a complicated feeling of frustration, but also happiness. The judges changed, but they didn’t tell us anything beforehand, Mr. Satoshi Iizuka.

Kaya: During that period, we worked together quite a bit.

Kaga:When I met him, I asked him, “I heard you are changing. Kaga: When I asked him, “I heard they are changing, but what do you think about it? I wonder how it is” (laughs).

Kaya: But I’m sure they had already decided by then (laughs).

Kaya: I hope to make it to the finals when I have a good story again. When I saw last year’s competition, I thought, “Give me three more years! I thought, “Please give me three more years! I really think it will take at least that long.

If you form a unit, the order is determined within that unit.

–Last year, the top four teams in the competition were all working as conte units: Air Kan Dan and Male Blanco from “Conto Dog,” The Mammy from “Conto Village,” and the president of Nippon from “Kansai Conto Security Association. Do you think this has had an impact?

Gaya: Indeed, if you ask me. If there is an influence, it would be the ability to do a different kind of comedy than what I usually do, like “but make something interesting. It’s not a nice break, but I think it’s a good cycle.

Making a skit is still the same, but it’s with a different group of people than usual. When we talk in the dressing room, I think we inevitably talk about comedy. I think we get a lot of inspiration from that kind of environment.

KUKI KAIDAN, for example, had a live unit called “Deka Pushu! with Oswald, Fire Thunder, Frog Pavilion, and others. I think they always felt each other’s good points, bad points, and the comparisons that came to light in the unit. I think that encouraged them, frustrated them, and made them want to do their best.

When you form a team or a unit, the order is somewhat determined within that team or unit. I think that friendly competition was one of the reasons for their success in last year’s King of Conte.

Gaya: The tension between the two may be more severe than the audience might think. They are not just friendly with each other. We are really good friends, but it is because we are good friends that we maintain a sense of tension.

Kaga:That being said, there is a unit live performance “SANPA-SANSAI,” which is performed by three groups: us, Hanako, and KUKI KAIDAN, but since the other two groups won the championship, someone was concerned and stopped the event (bitter laugh). (Laughs.) It probably won’t come back if we don’t win, so we want to do something about that.

–Do the members of the unit sometimes give each other opinions on each other’s comedy?

Kaga: Yes, we do. But rather than simply taking in each other’s opinions, we listen to what others have to say and learn that we are not alone in our thoughts and feelings, or that we went through such a difficult time that brought us to where we are today. I think it is important to have other comedians nearby that you can talk to.

Dow 9000″ and “The Mummy” are the ones I don’t want to lose to.

–Since 2020, there have been a number of contortionists of the same generation or younger than the two of you, such as Suspenders, G-Pants Panda, Zen Monkey, Gold Country, and Dow 90000, who have emerged one after another. Are there any contortionists that you feel are your rivals now?

Kaga:I don’t think they are rivals, but Dow 90000 is “nutrition” for me. I can’t help but want to see them. I am simply a fan. I left the theater after our Tokyo show, and 50 minutes later I was watching Dow90000’s solo live performance (laughs). (Laughs.) “Finally, it’s over! and “I can finally see it! I felt like, “Finally, it’s over!

Dow 90000 is special among comedians because they are an eight-member group, so they are overwhelmed by overwhelming power. They couldn’t be my rivals. It’s like, “Wait a minute, is that even possible? It’s like, “Wait a minute, that’s not possible! But if this were a competition, it would be terrifying.

8 If there was a duo and not enough development, that alone would be fatal. There would be an overwhelming difference in the number of participants. Eight people talking for five minutes is quite a feat when four had been the maximum number of participants. The power of that is incredible, and the volume is simply amazing. Because of that, I feel that I definitely don’t want to lose to Dow 90000.

Gaya: I am The Mummy. I personally don’t want to lose. They won the “Tsugikuru Geinin Grand Prix” with two groups competing against each other, and I’ve seen them win in front of my eyes many times at regular live performances. I would like to wipe away the trauma of being snatched away from all of that.

KAGA: If you put it that way, it’s really Mr. KUKI KAIDAN. He said, “Let’s compete together,” and I really wanted to compete in the King of Conte together, but it’s probably not going to happen. I don’t think we’ll be able to compete after winning the competition.

–I am now working on the qualifying rounds for the King of Conte again this year. Is there anything you are doing now or planning to do in preparation for the competition?

Gaya: We had a live performance of new material in January and solo performances in May and June, so we are now examining and brushing up our material. I hope we can make the best choices for the competition while testing them out in the live performances.

Kaga: Some of the people who support us will be at the venue for the semifinals. If we were to perform our first material for real there and it was so popular that they died, they would probably cry. That would be the ideal, but it’s so idealistic that we fail every year (laughs).

(Laughs.) But I’ve seen Hanako’s “Inu” (a contraption performed on the first stage of “King of Conte 2018”), so I don’t want to give up on it yet. When I start putting a story on stage, ideas like, “I want to do this here,” come to me on their own. So, I have to keep working on it as I go along. I hope to make new material until the very last minute before the competition.

Part 2: “How to stand out” is important. Click here for the origin of KAGAYA, a contortionist, and his goal of laughter.

  • Interview and text by Asahi Suzuki

    Freelance editor/writer. Former band member, former broadcaster. Loves all kinds of entertainment. Published "Shimura Ken Theory" (Asahi Shinbun Publishing) in April 2021. Currently updating his personal website, "Immortal Writing Blues. http://s-akira.jp/

  • Photography Sugizo

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