Hitoshi Matsumoto’s 遺書 (“Will”) – Chapter 2

Chapter 2. “Judge Chairman Giichi Fujimoto, please stop getting involved in comedy biz!”

Last time I wrote down some pretty arrogant stuff, so now I’ll keep the pace and write down even more of it, you motherfucker!
Sometimes when I watch TV I stumble upon those programs where they look back at comedians’ shows from the past.
They usually run old VTRs such as those of the late Sanpei Hayashiya and both comedians and tv hosts always say some lukewarm comments like “man, it’s still funny to this day” in a way which is not just irritating, is incredibly infuriating.
Of course, “Let’s change the channel~” is my solution in front of such things (to the relatives of the late Master Sanpei Hayashiya, just… calm down, ok?).
Comedy itself is something which gradually changes as it goes through eras, and I’m sure said person (from the afterlife) knows that too. What the tv host just said is not a compliment, it’s nothing at all to be fair, and if he’s actually being honest about it, then it means he’s just a poopy-headed guy who couldn’t care less about Sanpei Hayashiya’s golden age.
There are lots of idiots who tend to think of comedy as something like a nostalgic song, and that’s troubling.
I’d love to say them “Don’t you dare put comedy on the same level as songs or anything like that!”.
Back then during our debut, we were forced to take part in several rookie manzai artists contests (I think of those as the Japan Record Award, and we manage to get several prizes such as “best rookie award” or such, because of the still half-hearted talent we had.
By now that award doesn’t mean anything at all, but it really made us happy back then.
But hold on, I’m about to get mad at this.
So, after that, the host says “And now let’s have Downtown, our comedy duo who just won the best rookie award prize, to perform again their victory skit as a bonus for the audience! Please enjoy it to the fullest!”.

I’ll kill you.
There’s no way we can make them laugh with the same skit we just did.
Not to mention, an important part of comedy is to show how much you can do good when it comes to ad-lib (my cherished opinion), and I personally hate to perform the same thing twice, really, I’m sure my face would be red in shame if they made me repeat the exactly same thing I said before all over again for hours and hours.
And don’t even let me talk about female comedians awards, ‘cause that’s a real pain.
They always end up crying in the middle of their skits. And when they do, their families on the front seats start to shed tears too, and the rest of the audience who saw them starts to cry in sympathy, and then the host notices them and becomes teary-eyed as well…
“Ahh…” (no comment).
Let me tell it to you one more time. Don’t put music and comedy together! And to all the broadcasting stations in Osaka which are still running similar shows to this very day, please, stop immediately! And please, stop letting Judge Chairman Giichi Fujimoto get involved in this! You’re way lower than a rookie! Please stop getting involved in comedy biz.
Well, this time I wrote a lot, so one more thing: also stop broadcasting Downtown’s old VTRs as you please!
And the most important thing; when I’ll leave this world, don’t you dare have some TV host saying “man, it’s still funny to this day” or such, you bastards! I swear if you let that thing slip out from your tongue, I’ll appear beside your bed at night and perform that infamous sucky doctor skit right in front of you, you bastard!

Notes

Sanpei Hayashiya used to be a famous japanese comedian, mainly known for his rakugo performances. He passed away in 1980.
– Shortly after his name appears, I wrote “irritating” and “infuriating”, but the whole sentence makes more sense in japanese, let me explain it to you. The original text says “ha no uku dokoro ka, ago goto sora ni tondeikisou” (歯の浮くどころか、アゴごと空に飛んでいきそう). “ha no uku dokoro” means “to have one’s teeth on the edge”, and it’s literally “make you teeth float”, in japanese. So he says, it’s not like this, but it’s more as if “my jaw is skyrocketing” (ago goto sora ni tondeikisou), making a pun out of his previous sentence. Or, to say in simple words, “i’m not angry, i’m furious”. Or the way I wrote it above, sort of.
– Wikipedia entry for Japan Record Awards.
– More info on Giichi Fujimoto. Matsumoto complains the fact that he shouldn’t be the judge of a comedy-related tv show, not being a comedian himself (he’s a writer / actor).

Hitoshi Matsumoto’s 遺書 (“Will”) – Chapter 1

Chapter 1. “Please, stop asking me all these poopy questions”

There’s always some kind of “top 10 tv ratings” nauseating page in every goddamn tv show magazine.
Tv stations and tv shows sponsors should be more worried about these.
Once the general public becomes aware of it, they’ll most likely try to watch said high-rated tv shows in every place, be it at school or at work, and I think this is utterly terrifying, don’t you think so?
If celebrities would realize that too it would totally suck, tv shows themselves will all gradually follow the same single pattern and everything would just be way too boring, in my opinion.
And that’s the main issue when it comes to comedy shows.
To be honest, I don’t think comedy should be considered hilarious when it can make laugh 100 people out of 100 people.
The overall number of people who can understand high-level comedy is quite low, and its percentage is probably no more than 20 to 30% (or even lower than that).
When it comes to a homerun in a baseball match, it’s still a homerun no matter who is looking at it, but a comedy homerun isn’t as easily noticed as it, and that makes me sad.
Not only that, there are also pricks who can’t see beyond my boke (funny man*) acting and complain about it, that’s unbearable to me.
I’m about to talk about the main topic, but before that let me tell you: Downtown is a really great duo.
Matsumoto in particular, I think he’s the greatest genius of this century, and there will never be a comedian who can surpass him in making people laugh. Hahaha.
If you ask someone “who’s the funniest comedian at the moment?”, young people will say it’s Downtown.
I think old people and children would probably pick another comedian or duo.
But wait, the thing I want you to reflect upon is who’s the group who can understand comedy the best between them.
The most sensitive one is the generation whose feelings have currently reached their peak. The answer is “young people”.
I often hear someone saying “Let’s take over the world” in the comedy biz, but that’s not about getting the approval of huge numbers of people, it’s all about how you can get the approval of those who have elevated comedy standards. Following this meaning, you can see how Downtown actually is Japan’s best comedian duo.
But there’s something you should not confuse: by saying “the best comedian”, I’m not saying “the best tv star”.
I think the job title of a comedian doesn’t imply he/she has to sing or appear in tv dramas or such (that’s something I could also say to my partner Hamada). Even if one manages to get good evaluations because of such things, they don’t mean nor add up anything to his role as comedian.
I want to keep on putting myself on the line just with my sole weapon, comedy. That takes a great amount of courage and self confidence, but genius comedian Matsumoto will daringly accept this challenge.
Now, those who read this will probably ask me “Macchan, why don’t you take part in a tv drama?” or poopy questions like that, and I’d really want them to stop doing it.
Downtown is currently (1994*) running 4 shows per week as regular members. And of course, we plan on keep on working on television in the future.
But I’m sure we’ll never be able to create a show which can top 20% of tv ratings, and we don’t even want to.
That as long as the comedy level of japanese people won’t raise more and more, of course.

Notes

Parenthesis are part of the original text, except for those marked with (*), which I added myself.
Chapter 2 coming out next week.

Isho (“Will”) by Hitoshi Matsumoto: A Translation Project

Hey guys, how are you doing?
I’m currently living in Japan and I’ll stay here for a while.
There’s simply no time for me right now to typeset and work on new videos, as I’ve explained like a million times before, but I still want to do something for the Gaki community while I keep on practicing my japanese & translation skills.
Other than my “you typeset, I translate” plan (which is a bit far-fetched and I’m not relying on anything and neither should you), I recently bought in a Book-off in Jujo Matsumoto’s book “Isho” (“Will”), published in 1994 and refered as in lots of Downtown-related shows, such as the latest Batsu Game (Treasure Hunters) and in the legendary Wednesday Downtown episode where Downtown battles against Fans in a Downtown-related quiz show (unsubbed, but it’s here).
Isho is basically a compilation of short chapters Matsumoto wrote for several weeks for Asahi Shinbun between 1993 and 1994.
Each chapter revolves around a certain theme (mostly related to comedians and show-biz), in which Matsumoto shares his thoughts and critiques without holding back. In short, a different title for this book could have been “grumpy Matsumoto yells around” or something like that.
Anyway, since it’s an official book written by Hitoshi Matsumoto and since it hasn’t been translated nor localized anywhere but in Japan, I thought to myself “maybe I should do it, since I’m having fun reading it”.
I hosted a poll on my Twitter to ask if my followers would like to read it, and it turns out that it could still benefit the Gaki community.
So here comes a new category on this wordpress: Isho project!
A new chapter from Isho will be online every Sunday starting from 07/15 (in case it won’t be possible, I’ll make sure to let you know ahead on my Twitter, so keep an eye on it. It’s also possible you’ll get more than a chapter per week sometimes: just keep an eye on my Twitter and you’ll know.
Each chapter comes (in the original book) with a small drawing by Matsumoto, which, on my wordpress articles, will be featured in a small banner above each post (with translations when needed).
There will also be occasional translation notes when required, at the bottom of each post.
Each post will be under the same category “Isho Project”, so once it’ll be finished, you can read em all just by clicking on the category (or maybe I’ll make a pdf or such once I’ll be done with it).
I hope you’ll enjoy this small book and each chapter yet to come, we’ll catch up soon on this Sunday with chapter one.
Thanks for your support, have a good day!