Daily Archives: September 13, 2010

Tani Kei Dies at 78

Tani Kei, Crazy Cats


Comedian and actor Tani Kei died of a brain contusion early Saturday morning at a Tokyo hospital. He was 78. According to a source, he was rushed to hospital on Friday evening after falling down the stairs of his Mitaka home. He had been suffering from health problems in recent years and hadn’t appeared in public for some time. His swansong was, appropriately, last year’s 20th and final movie in the long-running “Tsuri Baka Nisshi” (Diary of a Fishing Fool) series, of which he appeared in every one. Real name Watabe Yasuo, Tani’s stage name was a tribute to the Hollywood star Danny Kaye. Married since 1958, he and his wife Kazuko had four children.

The multi-talented Tani was one of the best known stars of the post-war era. Born in Tokyo, he was raised in Hiroshima and Yokohama. He started playing trombone in junior high school and first played professionally while in college. He performed in groups such as Sharps & Flats and Frankie Sakai’s City Slickers in the early 1950s before joining the legendary jazz/comedy band Crazy Cats in 1956. With their roles in the “Musekinin” comedy movies and the TV shows “Otona no Manga” and “Shabondama Holiday” they were among the biggest stars of their day. The late Hana Hajime and Ueki Hitoshi were the two most popular members of that band, with Tani a close third, and their lyrics were written by Aoshima Yukio, who would go on to become governor of Tokyo. Among Tani’s many other contributions to pop culture were catchphrases like “Gatchon!” and “Buhyo-Buhyo” and the Japanese voice of Charlie Brown.


Anzen Chitai Tour Chaos

Tamaki Koji, Aota Noriko


Rock band Anzen Chitai gave up on last night’s concert halfway through due to problems with its frontman. Vocalist Tamaki Koji (52) seemed to be drunk as he got into arguments with audience members, forgot lyrics and finally collapsed on stage. People were already walking out of the show at the Fukuoka Sun Palace Hotel and Hall when organizers brought it to a halt. Kyodo Nishi Nihon announced on their website that tickets would be fully refunded. Today is Tamaki’s birthday and there are concerns about whether he will appear at tonight’s scheduled show in Kumamoto. The September 7 Anzen Chitai show in Osaka was cut short when Tamaki complained of health problems.

One of the more colorful characters on the rock music scene, Tamaki recently got a lot of media exposure following his relationship and recent marriage – his fifth – to talento and former pin-up girl Aota Noriko (42). This week’s “TV Bros” magazine, celebrating its 600th issue, features a photo spread of the couple naked in bed at their Tokyo home.