An update on Matsumoto’s book “Isho” (“Will”)

Some days ago I made a quick post on twitter about the future of the translation project for Matsumoto’s book “Isho” (“Will”), which I’ve started last year and I’ve set aside after translating 13 chapters of it. Let get this straight first: the project is not over and I’m willing (pun intended…?) to translate the whole book. But let’s also spend few words about this project and what caused its hiatus, in order.

So, why have I stopped translating it? There are few reasons for this. I’ve started translating this book when I was living in Tokyo last year, and around the time I got around chapter 13, I’ve been going through a lot of difficult situations. I had few to no time for the project and I’ve been really stressed to the point I couldn’t just focus on translating anything during my spare time (I barely posted any gaki episode translation since July 2019 throughout the end of the same year). Things eventually started to go better as I moved to Nakano, but there were other practical problems which kept me away from it. My pc died and I remember writing few chapters on my smartphone, which isn’t an experience I’d personally recommend. Then I started working for most days of the week while also studying both at the school I was enrolled in and on my own, so I could get ready for my JLPT N1 exam on December (which I have passed, yay). Long story short: few to no spare time, stressful events and no pc availability are the reasons for why I stopped translating Isho. But that’s not all.

One day someone posted a comment which made me realize what was wrong with this project (you can still read that comment on the about section). Let me say this first. I’m not mad at this person who posted this comment (aside from that euphemism part. You really think I’m that idiot?), she made a point and she’s right about what she said:

Someone needs to say this. I realize and respect that English is not your native language. But you DESPERATELY need someone to edit for you. It’s only to help you that I’m bringing this up.“.

I always receive so much positive feedback from you guys I’m overwhelmed, but as you know, as everyone knows, negative feedback (and I meant it as “it caused be a negative response at first”, not as “it was negative”) always hits you harder. I’ve thought about this a lot, and then I realized my mistakes, and that she was right and I had no reason to feel bad about this comment. I just thought that she’s right and that I have to improve so I won’t make crappy translations, no one deserves them. It’s the right criticism I needed. And yeah, while it’s true that most of my mistakes are simply caused by distraction or typos (everything here is free content, don’t forget about this; it’s not my job), sometimes it’s so clear that the main issue is that I’m not a native english speaker and – because of that – my sentences sound weird and unnatural. I bet there are countless of them in this post too lol. So, I wanted to say thanks to this person, because she made me realize it was pointless to translate a book by publishing weekly rushed chapters without editing, without quality checking, without anything but that “gotta hurry up and finish my weekly chapter” feeling. It’s not what I wanted from this project and I don’t think it’s going to give birth to anything good.

I always wanted to translate a full book (I guess I could do a better job if it’s from japanese to italian, but again, no one cares for Isho or Gaki no Tsukai or the stuff I like and enjoy here in Italy), but I don’t want the final product to be rushed and – overall – lousy. I know both english and japanese well enough to understand everything I hear or read, but I can’t say the same about written / oral production for both of them. I’m not even sure about my written / oral skills in italian (mother tongue) to be honest lol. But translation isn’t enough. Making a content available for english users to read (or better, understand) isn’t enough, it can be done better than this.

That’s why I’ve decided to pick up Isho once again and keep on translating it, in a different way from how I used to do before. New chapters aren’t going to be uploaded on a weekly basis. I, or better, we are going to release a full Isho book in the future, together.
I’m currently working on the book again, and it’s – of course – going to take me some time to complete it. The book is 50 chapters long + afterword, and I’m also going to write a preface for it. I’ll be dealing with the translation / research / notes / preface parts (basically everything revolving around writing), but it’s not going to be enough. I’ll need editors, and that’s where you can help me. Now it’s still too early to discuss about it, but later on (we’re talking about months here), once I’ll be done with the translation, I’m making another post in which you can volunteer as an editor for Isho. Once the whole book will be fully translated, edited and completed, it’s going to be posted here on this website as a free to download PDF.

Again, it’s still too early for this and it’ll be explained more clearly later on (maybe we can finally have a discord server or such? I don’t know, I’m not really into this stuff but we’ll see), but here’s who we’re going to need for this project:
– 1~5 editors: the book is composed of really short and easy to read chapters, one editor can easily go through them all at his/her own pace, but we can also split the work between more people. You’ll just have to double check what I’ve written, fix typos / misspells, correct weird sentences, grammar mistakes etc. There could be lots of strange words / sentences which are intended to be that way; we’ll discuss them together.
– 1 (or more) graphic editor: once the book is fully translated and checked, I need someone to wrap everything up in a nice, pleasant format. You’ll have to make the whole thing appear as a proper book, with spaces, page numbers, cover, index, etc etc, nice and clean. You’ll also have to add Matsumoto’s drawings to each chapter and deal with everything about the appearance of the book, from its cover to its fonts. In other words, you’re in charge to determine how everything is going to look!

Needless to say, every person willing to help me is going to be credited in the book. As I said again, this isn’t anything official yet. I’m nowhere close to be done with it and I’m not recruiting anyone yet. But, if you want to, you can let me know in a comment what do you think about this idea. If you’re interested in lending me a hand with this project when it’ll be time, keep an eye on my twitter / facebook, any update is going to be posted there (I was thinking about posting a translation progress status tweet at the end of each month).

I hope we’ll get to work together on this project and release a nice final product out of it! Thank you for reading this wall of text, expect more updates on this topic in the (kind-of-)near future!

Hitoshi Matsumoto’s 遺書 (“Will”) – Chapter 13

<b>I’m a little bit hurt too when I make people laugh with this pubic lice story</b>

Oh shit! Holy shit! Recently, people around me have been telling me this thing, but now I’m slightly sensing the same thing myself… That’s right: my face is becoming “more gentle”! Come to think about it, this year I’ll turn 30. I’m clearly an old dude by now (I guess I’m outside the age where I can watch AV, am I~?).
All the other colleagues my age have already wives and kids. I guess that’s the obvious thing to do, being an human being. But even though it may be obvious for the rest of the world, to me it’s just a big problem. My ideal is to become an even more harsh, even more sharp venom-spitting comedian!
Last week I wrote how more people will come and try to meddle with you when you start to sell more and more, but I can’t deny how less poisonous you become with it too (I wonder if I set foot in that area myself?).
Once you start to sell, the first thing to wear off is your hunger. When I was a newcomer I didn’t have any money nor jobs, my agency (Yoshimoto) and my viewers treated me like a worm, and each time I got back home my parents and siblings looked at me the same way you look at pubic hairs, but I kept on doing it so one day I could tell everyone “look at what I am now”, and now that I’ve reached that goal in my life I find myself being grateful to all of this shit I’ve been through instead.
Even those who were cold to me before started to act differently once I started selling, and made a real fuss about it. All I could do myself was to become used to say “well, whatever” (maybe I’ve been too soft on them). And now that I think about it, the expression of my eyes has become gentler.
It’s becoming more difficult for me to speak ill of others on TV (expecially comedians). When I wasn’t that popular, I opened my mouth for everything, even for just being ignored.
Even if I’d speak ill of people I don’t know, the next time I have the chance to meet them again and talk to them, we end up exchanging few words in a peaceful and laughable way, and I can’t speak ill of them anymore. Even if I hated them before meeting them, it happens frequently that after getting to meet them I realize they’re not bad people at all, and the fact the opposite thing rarely happens anymore is making me worried.
The same applies to this weekly publishing. Everytime I meet several other comedians and they tell me “I’ve been reading your articles every week” my will to show em my bad attitude shrinks smaller and smaller.
There was this newcomer who once said on tv “Downtown are cowards because they try to make people laugh by speaking ill of others”, but that’s completely wrong. I want you all to understand the simple fact that speaking ill of someone to make people laugh requires technique & guts.
I’m not saying that’s all there is in comedy, but there are lots of gags which result in someone feeling hurt (including myself).
For example, if we make a joke about someone being bald during a skit, even if people would laugh at it, bald people would totally feel hurt by it. The same way, I felt a bit hurt too with all that pubic lice story.
For example, when you have to get back at someone with a tsukkomi line and you say like “who are you, Takagi Boo?!”, you don’t use honorifics. In cases like this, by adding “-san” or other honorifics you make the joke unfunny. But that may end up pissing off the person you’re talking about. In the end it doesn’t matter which path you choose to take, you’ll always be sorrounded by enemies. And if that’s the case, then so be it: let’s get sorrounded by enemies as much as we can!
I’ll spit my inner stingy venom to each one of you, you heard me! I’ll now let my pen down, hoping that starting from next year I’ll get the look in the eyes I had during my debut years back.

– Takagi Boo is a japanese comedian / musician (ukulele player). The context for this tsukkomi example Matsumoto gives could be either based off some quote or habit he often shows, or even his looks. At any rate, he’s older than Matsumoto, and adressing an older colleague without honorifics is considered really rude in Japan.

Hitoshi Matsumoto’s 遺書 (“Will”) – Chapter 12

About lices and the comedy which saved me when I was a kid

It’s been 12 years since I made my debut in the world of comedy.
I started selling good before I could even realize it, and I even became a star of some sort (of course that doesn’t mean I’m satisfied with my current conditions).
And the more I sell, the more people who want to step on me or get in my way start to appear.
Last time I wrote about the whole “pubic lice accident” and how I don’t care that much about neither unfounded rumors nor trying to stupidly deny what really happened.
I thought about it, and while the whole “pubic lice” thing is fine as it is, the “being forced to do something against your will” thing really got on my nerves. I have a family, just so you know. I have to make things clear expecially for them. First off, I’d love to have a press conference about how this kind of image can really become an hindrance to the definition of “comedian”.
“He hold me in his arms and slammed me over his bed!” (I don’t have a bed at home), “he offered me alcoholic drinks” (I don’t even drink, so of course I don’t have any at home).
I think those who saw “Focus” already know this, but that girl chose to show herself in photo (I’m so confused!).
If you are so proud to show your face on “Focus”, why couldn’t you just come here and meet me in person? That’s ‘cause what you’re talking about is 100% pure BS!
It’s ‘cause you’re a stinky smelly poopie head, that’s why!
I’ll tell you the truth, when I was a little kid I used to be a bully magnet. Back in kindergarten when we had these swimming pool activities hours, even if someone would steal my water gun, all I could do about it was to cry. I was such a frail kid I couldn’t even explain the reason for why I was crying when the teacher asked me about it. Even when I started going to primary school the situation didn’t change that much, I didn’t have a single male friend and all I did was playing with the other girls (to be honest I’m still like this to this very day).
Then there was this day, if I remember correctly it was during my second year in primary school, when my dad got some tickets for Kagetsu (Yoshimoto’s comedy theater) from the company he was working with (ar the time, my dad was doing some job where he could easily get his hands on tickets).
Manzai, rakugo, original Yoshimoto comedy… I started to go to Kagetsu and see such shows on a monthly basis with my family. By doing this, my eyes and my ears started to develop a good taste. It was different from TV because I could actually see the public’s live response to it, and my judgement as a child was like “I see, those guys really liked this joke, but I wonder how they’ll react to his next one”.
In my mind I was becoming a sort of comedy critic, so I slowly started to make gags on my own at school too. Maybe it could be because we lived in Kansai, but it seems like funny guys are really respected here, so before I could realize it no one was bullying me anymore, and the other kids started to gather around me more and more.
And so this and that happened, and I managed to completely change from a bullied kid into a completely new self. My family was poor, my grades were the worst and I wasn’t really cut up for sports; what really saved me was comedy alone.
If you’d take comedy away from me, I won’t have anything left. And I bet that even from now on and as long as I’ll be into the comedy business, this type of human-poop hybrids will surely try to get in my way and make me fall. But hey, do it moderately! ‘Cause if you’d take comedy away from me, I won’t know what to do with my life anymore!

Hitoshi Matsumoto’s 遺書 (“Will”) – Chapter 11

“To those who complain about dirty jokes: go and raise your kids in a shelter”

Don’t you think there are way too many people with nothing to do in this world?
When you work on television, your station usually gets a ton of complaint phone calls. Among them, those from housewives are the most common (yep, they have nothing to do after all).
They don’t realize that by making said phone calls to our tv station and picking up these useless fights, they’re only making tv less and less interesting over time.
There are things in this world which are way more wrong than what they complain about, but on the other hand yeah, I guess it’s not like I don’t get them at all.
Now and then they call our tv station and start their one-sided speech while our staff doesn’t really say anything but apologies. By doing this, they can easily reduce their stress while also feeling like they’re some sort of crime avengers, as an added cherry on top. Probably once you start you become addicted to it, I don’t know.
Aaaanyway, I can’t stand those complaints.
Back then (maybe even today?), when my partner Hamada used to slap some newcomers’ heads while performing his tsukkomi act, we got lots of calls.
But hey, wait a moment. Hamada’s hand is exactly like yours, there’s meat all over his bones and even a coating made of skin over it, it’s a normal human hand. It’s not made of super-alloy and it’s not like his fingernails are covered in poison or such.
Besides, if one acts as the boke (if he makes people laugh), he then receives the tsukkomi (he gets hit), this comes as a one-pack; also, by the moment you make the audience laugh, your fate is to get slapped by the tsukkomi, I would never forgive a comedian who would run away from it. Not even if it’s a newcomer we’re talking about (if they get all this backlash from being slapped once or twice, what should I say from my position, being hit over ten times each time?).
Another complaint we usually get is “what are you going to do if my kids start to imitate it?”. Seems like they associate this with bullying. We got this sort of phone call last time, when me and Hamada filmed this bit where we buried Jimmy Onishi into the ground and drove a roller near his head’s sides.
Hahahah, just try imitate this! (are you that rich at your home? & are your kids some old dudes?) I mean, if there exist a kid who could actually imitate this, I can’t deny that in a way he deserves to be praised for it.
And of course it goes without saying, but most of the calls are about dirty jokes. When we did that sort-of lewd skit on Golden Time, we got showered in complaint calls.
“I don’t want my kid to see that”, or “It’s going to be a bad influence for my kid”…
So what? Just because I put on a fake pair of tits on tv your kid is going to become strange? What next, if I’m being in agony on my bed then your kids will start spurting blood from their nose?
You know, kids aren’t as stupid as you think you are. They’re living beings who can clearly distinguish real life from television.
And if they may grow up running towards weird directions, it won’t be because of the television, I’m sure it will be because that’s who they were to begin with.
Besides, if you really care about the bad influence your kids could be exposed to, first of all you parents who are the closest to them, stop having sex at home! And if that’s impossible, just build a shelter and raise them inside of it, you jeeeerks!

– When Matsumoto describes Hamada’s hand, he refers to Chogokin, aka Super Alloy, a fictitious material appearing in the famous anime and manga Mazinger Z. Source: Wikipedia.

Hitoshi Matsumoto’s 遺書 (“Will”) – Chapter 10

“The man who sold his soul to comedy doesn’t even move in front of pubic lice”

The other day I heard that a certain women’s weekly magazine has published a sort of scandal-like article about me (it’s not like I want to keep the magazine’s title a secret, but I don’t even want to contribute in its sales, so in the end I’m censoring it).
It’s not like there was clearly written “Matsumoto from Downtown”, but there was a “Young super popular comedian from Kansai” along with details about the color of the car he was riding and other detailed informations even a not so big fan of me would have guessed it was clearly talking about me (after all, from the very “super popular comedian from Kansai” bit, to be honest, there’s no one else beside me and Hamada. Hahaha).
The banner headline was like “that idiot infected me with pubic lice!”, and seemed to be a story written by a woman who claimed to have slept with me. I want to make things clear about all of this. I really want that chick from Josei-7 (oops, I wrote it!) to read this carefully.
I’m pissed off! I’m not angry because everything inside that article was a complete lie, I’m angry because you didn’t clearly write down “Matsumoto from Downtown”! Why didn’t you write my name? Is it because you don’t actually have any proof for all of this?
Whatever the reason may be, I’m sure I wouldn’t be angry if you would have wrote my name down. After all, to me is like “yeah, whatever”. I got pubic lice twice before in the past, and I also got a urethritis once. But I don’t think such things are to be ashamed of or anything like that. I actually even said it on tv before stuff like “I got lice from some girl” or “I have some pus comin’ out of my dick”, I said this myself. That’s because I’m a super comedian who can turn these kind of accidents into something to laugh about. I’m not an idol. I’m just crazy mad at the fact that this lady of Josei-7 covered up my name and thought I’m some sort of intolerant comedian which gets angry or embarrassed over a lice story, that’s what pisses me off.
I don’t have any sort of taboo, basically. Things such as “if you do that, nothing good can happen” or “you shouldn’t say that, it’s not a laughing matter” don’t apply to me. How about you start writing bigger and bigger lies, but this time with my real name on it? Even if you feel so boastful over this petty lice matter you wrote about, I don’t feel like denying it at all, and I don’t have any sort of reaction for it I could possibly give you.
Even if this could turn out to be a huge scandal to run away from for your average tv star, it has no effect on me at all. I don’t care about my public image, nor my hairstyle or fashion, and not even my private life, even if someone would write something bad about it, I don’t see how it can be related to the concept of “Matsumoto as a comedian”.
To me, a man who only lives to make people laugh, pubic lice are nothing more than a gift from the heavens!
If I need to, I can even get naked when getting on stage, I can even poop all over it (now that I think about it, I actually pooped on the floor to make my friends laugh during an old school trip~). If an extreme story can turn out to be something to laugh about, I could even attempt some resurrecting techniques on an old man’s corpse who just died in front of me (well, I don’t think anyone would ever laugh at this).
Anyway, anyway, you got all of this, ladies from Josei-7? If you underestimate me, you’ll get in trouble. I’m Matsumoto from Downtown, the man who sold his soul to comedy!!

– Josei 7 is a magazine for young women published by Shogakukan. Official website.

Hitoshi Matsumoto’s 遺書 (“Will”) – Chapter 9

Chapter 9 – “I’ll gladly accept both criticisms and insults, so come at me fair and square”

Is it really going to be any sort of merit to me for having to write all these column on Shukan Asahi? When I first heard of this job I had several doubts, to be honest. I mean, it would have not been that surprising if we were talking about “Weekly Playboy” or “Hot Dog Press”, but we’re talking about “Shukan Asahi” here, whose readers are mainly old geezers, and uh… not to mention, it takes me up to 3-4 hours in order to write one of these and I’m also drawing these illustrations by myself, so to be frank it’s not like a fairy tale in which I’m making 50’000 yen with a fingersnap.
I get to write whatever I want and as much as I like in here to the point I think that if I’m going to get any complain about it, I think I’ll get into a fight and we can all just call this a day.
I thought “no way I’m goin’ to let it slide if you complain at what I wrote for 50’000 yen!”
By the way, I’ve recently read the fan letters & comments which arrived at Shunkan Asahi (ooh~, so that’s what it’s all about) and I changed my mind just a bit.
All those letters were somewhat different from all the fanletters I’ve received until now, the age range was also a little high and there was no content made by posers or such, they were just pure and simple opinions and that sort of moved me, you sonovaguns! (this newspaper’s column’s renumeration was not only 5000 yen, by the way). That’s right, that’s right. The fanletters I usually receive have such weak contents, they’re weak, weak poopy-head-letters, you know.
Like, letters where they state “I like you” in written form (I already know you like me by the time I received your goddamn letter!), or about a funny story they heard from a friend they met some days ago (do you really think the great me would laugh by reading that?!), or stories about the dreams they had last night (what am I, a fortune-teller?!), or “please send me your autograph” (is my autograph a pamphlet~?) or “aren’t you going to get married?” (not with you, at least!!) and so on… They just can’t go on like this!! Not to mention the most problematic ones, those who are like “I’ll give myself to you”, in other words those sleep-with-me-letters.
I don’t really know anything more frightening than making a phone call to a person I’ve never seen before. At least attach a picture to your letter (what the heck?!).
Well, anyway, I’d really like if you guys would write me more thoughts about my tv shows instead.
All the letters I’ve got delivered here in Shunkan Asahi were all letters filled with favorable opinions, but there was not much content to them. I’d like to receive more letters filled with objections or such. I’d be glad to accept letters of objections which makes sense, even if filled with insults; I’m not that stupid to be offended by those. But please, write down your phone number on them, ‘cause I’d love to reply to you fair and square with my own dose of abusive language. If I’d get mad over it, I promise I’d friggin’ call your ass, you punk! (with that being said, now you don’t have to force yourself to insult me just ‘cause you want me to call you.)
And so, with that our 9th chapter published in this column has come to a weird end, now I finally understood what the merit of having your fanbase spreading out means, and I even started to think it was good to publish all of this on Shunkan Asahi, and I even realized 5000 yen aren’t inexpensive at all (I’m not saying that I’m denying the possibility of having my manuscript fee raised in price, you know…).
From now on I’ll keep on soarin’ the skies of writing, and I’m gonna catch you all without crashin’ to the ground, baby want you (*in english on the book).

– Shukan Asahi is a the weekly newspaper in which Matsumoto wrote all the chapters which, in the end, became the book Isho itself.

Hitoshi Matsumoto’s 遺書 (“Will”) – Chapter 8

Chapter 8 – “My comedy is so advanced I could just rest for 3 years, don’t you think?”

Just imagine if you read a title on a sports magazine which says “Downtown’s Matsumoto will take a break for three years!” — I think it would raise quite the fuss, don’t you think so?
To be fair, it’s not an unreasonable thing to me. I won’t really call it my dream, maybe it’s more correct to call it a hope, or maybe it is more correct to just call it… despair.
That’s right, I’m desperate over this mess we all call “World”.
This World (and I mean the world of comedy) should always take the lead one step ahead of our regular World (you have to go one step further ahead from those who think you’re funny).
By the way, in case you’re wondering, by now I’m leading the way like 3 steps ahead. That’s why the thought “maybe I should just stay still for 3 years” ended up crossing my mind.
If I think about it, this issue has been inside me since the very day of my debut. The fact that the folks from that generation couldn’t elaborate my comedy as I wished was really irritating to me.
Still, I don’t think that even if I’d stay still for 3 years a newcomer will surpass me during this timespan; just think about it, there’s no such thing as a good balance of levels inside this world.
For example, let’s take Downtown’s Quiz Skit as a model. The first time we ever did this was about 5 or 6 years ago. But before that, it was already inside my mind since three years.
At that time, even my partner Hamada initially dismissed it by saying “it’s hard to get its meaning”, but three years later we finally performed it (hmm, that’s irritating).
I can say the exact same thing about the regular shows we’re currently working on. For example, on NTV’s show “Gaki No Tsukai Ya Arahende!!”, we always have this weekly free talk session, but sometimes me and Hamada are bursting in laughter while the audience is looking puzzled at us (‘cause they can’t catch up with us).
Even on Fuji TV’s “Gottsu Ee Kanji” we’re filming pretty high-leveled short skits (we also have very low ones though), but sometimes the response is not as satisfying as I wish it would be.
Now that I think about it, on a recent TBS tv special there was this man who ate as many bananas as possible in one minute, and I jokingly said “If I step on this man, I bet I’d slip and fall”, but the audience didn’t show any response whatsoever. The fact they didn’t laugh to this gag is not related to its delivery, may it be too fast or too slow, it’s more of a personality-related issue, and I think that’s pretty common to newcomers and amateurs.
It’s the same as when I went to this family restaurant and I could hear everyone raising their voice and laughing just behind my seat, but when I listened closely I heard “I like this Nikujaga way more than Mick Jagger!”.
I didn’t know it was a joke, so I just thought “oh man, this guy must really love Nikujaga”. Yeah, I have no doubt about it: there’s such a thick wall between me and the rest of this world.
But anyway, no matter how much I keep on writing stuff like this, those who don’t get it will always be like “what the hell is he talkin’ about?” and that’s it.
If you’d build a time machine and go back in time to 3 years ago and you’d say “in three years, soccer is going to be really popular”, who do you think would believe in you? I guess what I’m saying is similar to this.
I can really understand how Galileo felt when he said “and yet, the Earth is moving” and got treated like an oddball for his statement.
I understand you, you sunovagun!!

– Here’s Downtown’s Quiz Skit (unsubbed).
– “Mick Jagger” (Rolling Stone’s frontman) sounds like “Nikujaga” (a japanese dish of meat, potatoes and onion stewed in sweetened soy sauce) when pronounced in katakana (“mikku-jagaa”). That’s a classic dad joke (oyajigyagu) in japanese.

Hitoshi Matsumoto’s 遺書 (“Will”) – Chapter 7

Chapter 7 – “A comedian can choose his audience. That’s why I left “Waratte Iitomo!” in the end”

If you ask me whether I’m high tempered or short tempered, I can definitely state I’m not the latter. And because of that – or maybe because there are way too many idiots in this world – I always find myself raising my voice and getting into arguments with people in town (and if I’m not against tv stars, sometimes I make them raise their hands in defeat).
Recently I took a taxi and I got so angry over its driver’s bad attitude we actually got into a quarrel.
We both spat our opinions onto each other and by the time we were getting closer to the finale, that driver muttered few words out “I used to be a fan of yours, it’s such a shame”.
There are actually tons of guys who aim for a situation-turnaround by playing victims and messing around with a star’s feelings by saying stuff like “I’m your fan” or “I always see you on tv”.
A normal tv star would probably falter before this, but I’m not that naive. There’s no way those guys are my fans, and even if it were true and they actually are my fans, than let me just state this here and now: I refuse to acknowledge them. By the time I got out from the cab, I spat him one last sharp parting remark: “don’t you dare watch my shows ever again!!” – That’s what I told him.
Moving on, today’s topic is “even tv stars choose their clients (fans)”.
During my debut years, they told me to perform a manzai skit at Kagetsu (Yoshimoto’s live comedy stage) before a party of tourists composed only by granpas and granmas.
Of course I did my best for the first two or three minutes. But as soon as I realized how low was the level of my audience, I started speaking so softly not even the guys on the first row could hear me and I got out of the stage after only 3 minutes instead of the scheduled 15 minutes (by the way, my personal record is going away after 30 seconds).
Then the theater’s manager came to me and scolded me shouting “Don’t choose your audience. If you’re a pro, you have to do your best in front of everyone, no matter who they are”.
But I think that I can choose my own audience exactly because I’m a pro. Lowering the level of our gags so they’ll be more appropriate for an audience with unrefined comedy tastes would just hurt Downtown’s reputation.
Not only that, performing a manzai for 15 minutes in front of an audience which won’t laugh even if drugged hurts even more. If you came here not to laugh, then just go home, you stupid cuckoos (the comedians after us were still waiting for their turn and weren’t ready, so of course I apologized to them). The most frightening thing that could happen to a tv star is being harassed by a stupid audience member – aka a stupid fan.
Needless to say, it’s always better to have a lot of fans instead of just few of them. But it’s also true that one must never be manipulated by them. There’s no need to strive in order to make a dumb audience member laugh, by the time you start thinking “If I do this, the number of my fans will probably increase, if I do that, it will probably decrease”, you’re already done for (this expecially applies to comedians).
I couldn’t tell anyone before, but that’s the biggest reason for why I chose to drop out from Waratte Iitomo!, the audience members from that show are so loud and noisy they probably think they’re the actual performers here and even if I try to smack them out with my prodigious boke (funny man) skills, they always shout weird and wrongly timed words of encouragement which ruin everything.
I’m not the type of guy who can just smile at them and wave my hands in a lovable manner. No matter how many people will get inside my precious place of work with mud all over their feet, I won’t forgive any of them.
And that’s everything from today.

– “Kagetsu” refers to Umeda Kagetsu, a manzai-related theater in Osaka. I already made several notes about it on previous posts, such as Hitoshi Matsumoto’s 55th Birthday Special and Komoto Jun’ichi’s Shichi-Henge.
– Wikipedia entry for Waratte Iitomo!.

Hitoshi Matsumoto’s 遺書 (“Will”) – Chapter 6

Chapter 6 – “I hold no grudge against my parents who even saw me jerking off in our cramped house”

Oh man, Summer vacations are here, after all. Of course it’s not like I’ve been disliking Summer vacations from a long time. But since I started this job, I grew to hate them so much I even remember feeling frightened of them.
I have a regular show in Osaka, so I get back to Osaka around 2 or 3 times a month.
And all those dumb families I end up dealing with during my transfers on airplanes or Shinkansen – those groups who do no good and a lot of harm, usually composed of a man wearing glasses who doesn’t seem to be able to work properly, his wife who’s surely not a beauty and doesn’t even seem to be that smart, his daughter around her first year of primary school who grew up without being spoiled by his dad and a baby who is not even 1 year old and can’t use words properly and still smells like the semen he came from – are the reason (*for why I hate Summer vacations).
First of all, I have no idea why those people are getting Green Car or First Class seats, it’s a mystery to me.
Those seats are way too big for both the baby boy and the little girl, I remember feeling a murderous impulse upon seeing them trying to sleep in those while constantly turning over and over. Also, I can’t simply understand the reason for why said little girl is wearing a wristwatch. I just can’t help but taking few glimpses at her as she keeps on checking her watch until they arrive to their destination. Also, gotta mention the storm of candies, juices and ice creams no one could ever finish eating. This makes me really think that there’s something deeply wrong with this country we call Japan, after all. And even if all this scene is supposed to be complete of everything, the baby still seem to be discontent about it, and so he starts shouting “waaah”, “gwiihh” and “nguuuuh” in a strange voice.
In response to what they’re seeing, his parents smile cheerfully. And so, my wish to take a nap during my ride to Osaka got easily and completely crushed.
Now, it’s about time to talk about what I wanted to talk about.
If you have time to come up with nonsensical non-smoking seats on airplanes or shinkansen, then use that time to create non-children seats, you pieces of shit!
Also, dear stupid married couples, just so you know, your kids aren’t cute at all! Just because you cherish them, it doesn’t mean other people have to act the same towards them! Even if their shouts are nothing out of the ordinary to your lives, their intensity feels doubled or tripled to those who never heard them before, and it’s the most unpleasant feeling ever.
Moreover, where are you taking your toddler who still doesn’t even have the ability to understand what’s going on around himself? No matter how fun your trip will be, once he’ll grow up he won’t even remember one second of it, and I’m sure it’s going to be mostly a nuisance to him.
Let me tell you, all of those who have little brats who shriek all the time are not qualified enough to travel around. If you really want to go for a trip, just leave your kids in someone’s keeping or travel by car, you soft turds!
When I was little, I was raised in a house with cracks all over its floor, I couldn’t get anything I wanted and I lived inside it without even having a private room for me until I became 20 (and because of that I often got caught while jerking off by my parents). Nevertheless, I hold no grudge against my parents, that made me want to work harder than anyone else so I could make things easier for everyone, instead.
Today’s kids get everything they want, and no one dares to scold them even when they deserve it; their parents’ best effort is to go on the outside veranda to have a cigarette instead of smoking it inside of the house. I look forward to seeing how said young boys and girls will grow up, and if they’ll be raised with a higher amount of parental love I got from mine, mwahahahah.


Parenthesis are part of the original text, except for those marked with (*), which I added myself (to make it easier to read / understand).

Hitoshi Matsumoto’s 遺書 (“Will”) – Chapter 5

Chapter 5 – “In this world everyone will hate you, so stop asking for sympathy!”

During the editing of an episode of “Ucchan Nanchan No Yaru Nara Yaraneba!” by Fuji TV, they published an article about the death by falling accident of the vocalist of rock band from Hong Kong (they’re probably still working on writing about the circumstances in detail), and yeah, newspapers, magazines and even wide shows felt free to talk about it.
In this world, one can’t simply accept some events without placing the responsability for it onto someone else, and that’s pretty damn ill-natured.
“Here’s the situation: variety shows are filmed until it’s late at night, so both the star and the staff pile up a great amount of stress, that’s why we shouldn’t be surprised if they get involved in an accident!”
“Comedians are using their bodies more than their words to make the audience laugh, lately. Seriously, that’s all I can see!”
Yada yada yada and stuff like that, it’s like everyone is a critic and we’re in the middle of an all-you-can-talk.
I just want to say one thing. Both the staff and Unnan, only wanted to entertain the audience. I really want you to understand this feeling for what it was meant for.
Alright, belatedly, but let’s talk about our main topic.
For a comedian, tears are something that should be carefully avoided (I mean tears for deep emotions, tears of joy are barely safe).
Let me explain why: if you show them, the public might feel pity towards you, and because of this sympathy you receive, there’s the risk that everything you will ever do won’t ever be laughed at again (I’m not blaming Unnan at all, I’m blaming the mass media which cornered him).
I heard that back then there used to be this comedian named Tony Tani whose son was abducted, and all he did was to play the sympathy card and show his tears on tv until his son was found and went back home safely, but he got so much compassion from the viewers that it lowered down his popularity. That’s a great example.
I have a single policy myself in order to work in this comedy biz: “ill weeds grow apace”. That’s basically it.
“I hate that guy! But he’s hilarious, and I hate to admit it.” – isn’t this the best thing?
If you’re hated in this world, asking for sympathy will only make you look like a flabby weenie (or maybe you weren’t liked by anyone to begin with).
But anyway, I can’t deny that being a comedian is a tough job. No matter how many sad things may happen, you have to keep on making people laugh without having them surface.
If your loved one would die, if you’re a singer you can sing at a parade for her/him and it would even make you look good (also, more tears = more effectiveness), but if you’re a comedian, you have to wear a bald cap and run around aimlessly, or maybe get your bare ass out and move or jump or such (that’s probably not really necessary)… your loved one won’t be able to rest in peace.
And even if you would devote yourself to your job in said occasion, there could still be someone out there who will say you’re being indiscrete (which is still better than asking for sympathy).
About Unnan’s accident, I can’t say anything about it but “it was bad luck”. It’s something that could have occurred in every tv show, and of course one of our (Downtown’s*) shows is no exception.
The only difference is that if I – and maybe this means I’m not a proper human being like Unnan – would have been in a similar situation, I would have never taken part in any press conference and I would have never look down or shed tears, that’s for sure.
I have no direct responsibility for what happened, and I would never do anything like that in front of tv cameras.
Also, if acting like this means that I’ve failed as a comedian, then I’d quit this messed up comedy world myself.
If other people’s pity is what I should be looking for, I’d rather get the hell out of here, you motherfuckers!


J-wikipedia entry for “Ucchan Nanchan No Yaru Nara Yaraneba!”. The show lasted for three years, with its last episode being broadcast on June 26, 1993.
– On the same Wikipedia page, there’s an excerpt about said accident. A member from the chinese rock band “BEYOND” died in a car accident on his way back home after taking part in Unnan’s tv show. That’s the accident Matsumoto is refering to.
– On July the 15 1995, Tony Tani (japanese comedian)’s son was abducted and got released a week later after Tony himself dealt with the kidnappers. More about it on this Wikipedia page (jp).