Veteran Yoshimoto Kogyo (profile) duo Comedy No.1 have split up after performing together for 41 years. The decision was announced yesterday, several days after the duo had discussed their future. Sakata Toshio (67, photo left), the boke or funny man of the duo, is to go solo. Popularly known as “Aho no Sakata” (Sakata the Idiot) he vowed to be “I will work hard to be known as the No.1 idiot in Japan.” But the split most likely brings an end to the career of Maeda Goro (67, photo right), the duo’s tsukkomi or straight man. He’s been on sabbatical since May, when the handwriting in threatening letters sent to fellow Yoshimoto comedian Nakata Kausu (60) was found to be very similar to Maeda’s and he was questioned by police. Nakata, who in 2007 was rumored to be linked to a yakuza crime syndicate, was also the target of a violent attack back in January. Maeda has denied any involvement in either incident. A popular comedian, Nakata is known for his sharp tongue and the most common target of his verbal jabs in Sakata.
• Pro fighter Yamamoto “Kid” Norifumi (32) and model Malia (26) have divorced, they announced on their respective blogs yesterday. Yamamoto said that the blame lay entirely with him, that he had been too focused on hanging out with his friends while his wife was left to raise their three children. He added that he still only has eyes for his ex and hopes they will re-marry someday.
• Trial dates have been set for the two major ongoing celebrity drug cases. Takaso Yuichi (41), the husband of actress/singer Sakai Noriko, is set to appear at the Tokyo District Court on October 21. He is charged with both possession and use of amphetamines. A trial date has yet to be set for Sakai (38), who as yet has been charged only with possession. The couple are also thought likely to face each other in court in what would probably be an acrimonious divorce. Meanwhile, actor Oshio Manabu (31), released on bail on Monday, will be in court on October 23. At the moment he is charged only with the use of MDMA (ecstasy) and not in relation to the death of the woman he was with at the time.