Comedian Shimura Ken (55) is celebrating 20 years of his Baka Tono character with the release of a 3-DVD box set. He held a launch event in Tokyo’s Ginza district, along with his most recent sidekicks, comedians Dacho Kurabu. Shimura wryly remarked that the release came “a bit too late for some”, referring to Tashiro Masashi, his very first sidekick from the 1970s who was arrested for the fourth time in 2004 for drug possession. Shimura first got his own variety show in 1976 after he and the Drifters comedy group had become a national TV sensation. Baka Tono, which has been shown on TV networks in the US, is one of Japan’s most recognizable comic creations.
• The female stars who make up the Hello! Project turned out in force at the Yokohama Arena yesterday to finsih off their national tour. Morning Musume may be the most famous incarnation, but the show included a total of 67 singers who make up 15 different groups. The show also saw the first performance in over three years by Petit Morni, made up of former MM members Yasuda Kei (25), Goto Maki (20) and Yoshizawa Hitomi (20). All 67 young ladies were on stage for the grand finale, a lively rendition of MM’s mega-hit “Love Machine”.
• Also getting back together, though for the first time in 17 years, were the members of the Sadistic Mika Band. The four musicians, all in their 50s, teamed up with young vocalist Kimura Kaera (25) to record a live version of their 1973 hit “Taimu Mashiin ni Onegai” for a Kirin beer commercial to be aired in February.