A Junior Comedian Tells Why He Couldn’t Refuse TKO Kimoto’s Solicitation | FRIDAY DIGITAL

A Junior Comedian Tells Why He Couldn’t Refuse TKO Kimoto’s Solicitation

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Last November. Kimoto heads for a friend’s house on foot. He says that since he started investing, he has become more flamboyant toward his younger colleagues.

On July 23, Takehiro Kimoto, 51, of TKO, left his longtime company, Shochiku Entertainments. Kimoto was approached by a man named X, whom he met through an acquaintance about two years ago, about FX trading and real estate-related investments. The money that X managed included money entrusted by comedians and industry-related persons, and the total amount of damage is said to have amounted to 700 million yen, according to some reports.

On July 24, after the trouble was revealed, Downtown’s Hitoshi Matsumoto (58) appeared on “Wide Nah Show” (Fuji TV) and commented, “The Kimoto I know is not that kind of a guy. Many other big-name comedians, such as Akashiya Sanma, have also made comments in defense of Kimoto.

On the other hand, Kimoto, in the eyes of his juniors, had another face. A, a mid-level comedian with more than 10 years of experience, is one of Kimoto’s junior comedians who has been taken care of by Kimoto.

Kimoto is basically good at taking care of his junior comedians. He buys dinner for the younger ones who can’t afford it and gives jobs to the juniors who don’t have any. However, he is also a very strict person when it comes to hierarchical relationships.

According to A, there were comedians who left Kimoto because they did not like his overly strict guidance. Some of the rules Kimoto imposed on his junior comedians went too far.

He was very detailed, saying, “I must answer the phone within three calls at any time,” or I must end a LINE exchange with a reply from the junior comedian’s side. He was also very strict with juniors who did not follow the rules. Whenever I saw Mr. Kimoto in the dressing room, at a TV station, or at an event, I had to stop for at least five seconds to say hello to him, and after that, I was not allowed to move until he was gone.”

While he took good care of them, the junior members were in no mood to disobey Kimoto’s coercive attitude that imposed strict rules on them.

“The world of comedians is basically a vertical society, and the idea that junior comedians should respect their seniors is deeply rooted. However, Mr. Kimoto is unusually thorough in this regard. This is not a story of the last few years, but has been going on between him and his junior colleagues at Shochiku Entertainments. Mr. Kimoto was friendly to his seniors, but showed a different face to his juniors. So in inverse proportion to his caring nature, he is not well-liked.”

Kimoto said he would repay the 700 million yen. He has left Shochiku Entertainments, but plans to continue his entertainment activities.

Even so, another junior comedian, B, said that Kimoto’s advice on artistic matters was often helpful. Kimoto was a stoic senior comedian, especially when it came to laughter, and he would talk passionately about it over dinner or at the end of a performance. On the other hand, he also felt that in recent years he had been talking more and more about investments rather than his art.

“There was a time when Mr. Kimoto was very enthusiastic about ‘Bitcoin,’ and about 10 years ago he started talking about ‘I’m making money with Bitcoin,'” he said. After that, he started talking more about other coins such as ‘Ripple,’ and he would make impassioned speeches night after night. As a junior, I had no choice but to listen. There were times when Mr. Kimoto would call me to his office and say, “I have something to talk about at an entertainment event. I was afraid to say anything about it because I was afraid. I was too scared to say anything about it, but many of my juniors were fed up with that part of the conversation.”

In fact, the aforementioned junior comedian A also said that he was once approached by Kimoto about an investment. The amount was about 300,000 yen, but when he refused, he was asked, “Who is the junior who has the money? When he refused, he was told, “Who is the junior comedian with the money? Furthermore, in addition to A, there were similar instances of junior comedians soliciting other fellow comedians and acquaintances. Regarding the series of investment problems reported in the media, A laments, “Even if they were victims of these problems, the junior comedians could not speak up.

Some of the junior comedians who invested in the company were unaware that they had invested in the company because they felt that they had entrusted their money to Mr. Kimoto. Some of them may not even realize that Mr. Kimoto is calling on them because it is actually a different comedian calling on them. In the first place, an ordinary junior comedian cannot refuse a request from a senior comedian like Mr. Kimoto if he is asked to do so. Especially junior members who are usually subjected to strict rules and regulations, it is ingrained in their bodies that “what Mr. Kimoto says is absolute.”

Kimoto’s personal office said, “Although Kimoto himself introduced that he had invested and made money, he did not collect and manage the money. He did not collect and manage the money either,” they told the press. However, some junior comedians revealed that “Kimoto-san has approached them about investments before, not only this time,” and some of them have solicited other comedians at Kimoto’s request. We wonder what Kimoto will make of the testimony of these junior comedians.

  • Photo Nobuyuki Koike Masaaki Saito

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