The stars of “Spiderman 3” were in Tokyo yesterday for the movie’s world premiere. Tobey Maguire (31), Kirsten Dunst (24), James Franco (28) and director Sam Raimi (47) walked the red carpet at the Roppongi Hills complex and greeted some 700 fans who were lucky enough to attend the event. Thousands more fans braved the rain to catch a glimpse of the stars and superhero. The event included a performance by a spider-suited stuntman on a 20m high rope and is said to have cost in the region of ¥300 million. Maguire said that if a fourth sequel is made, he hopes to see Spiderman flying through the skies of Tokyo, describing the capital as “the perfect city” to premiere the movie. Spiderman 3 is due for theatrical release on May 1, though fans can get a taste of Spidey’s world now at an exhibition of mannequins and movie paraphernalia at Roppongi Hills until May 20.
Traditional storyteller Hayashiya Shouzou (44) has been nabbed for tax evasion. The popular rakugoka gave a press conference at the NHK studios in Tokyo yesterday to apologize for the case, which involved some ¥120 million in undeclared earnings. He gave no details of the tax bureau’s investigation other than that it was settled last year, and told reporters to direct further questions to his tax accountant. When asked how he would “explain” the matter to his late father, legendary rakugoka Hayashiya Sanpei, he replied, “Well of course he’ll be furious.” For many years a regular on the variety show circuit and a noted jazz fan and critic, he became the 9th-generation Hayashiya Shouzou when he succeeded to the name in March of 2005 (his previous stage name was Kobuhei). He has been more focused on rakugo since his succession, a major event in the traditional entertainment world marked by a parade in Ueno attended by 140,000 people and a series of some 60 events across the country. At the time, he received a huge volume of monetary gifts from fans, fellow performers and politicians. When money is given as a gift, it is placed in special envelopes known as “shuugibukuro”, and it was these empty envelopes that the tax authorities discovered in the basement of his home last summer. An investigation found further irregularities in his tax returns for previous years and the authorities sought some ¥40 million in taxes and penalties.