Since celebrity is more a matter of exploiting opportunities than exploiting talent, this week’s “Friday Showtime” (NHK-G, 8 p.m.) can be seen as an object lesson in cross-disciplinary synergy. Billed as an “astonishing entertainment” program featuring “music, comedy and illusion,” the show brings together on one stage three stars whose respective successes are interrelated.

The central link is Kenichi Mikawa, the effeminate enka singer who started out 30 years ago as a boy idol with an exaggerated singing style that made him a campy hit. Nevertheless, by the late 1980s he was thoroughly washed up. Enter another link, the musical impressionist Korokke, who made his name in the early 1990s by impersonating a whole range of singers from the ’60s and ’70s. His main two targets, however, were enka superstar Masao Sen and Mikawa, because both were so easy to lampoon. Consequently, as Korokke’s star rose, Mikawa hitched his career to it with Korokke’s permission (they often appear together in concert). Mikawa is now one of the biggest stars in Japan, and every washed-up singer has Korokke’s number on his speed-dialer.

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