Ichiro Furutachi, a TV personality and former news anchor also known as “the mad chatter,” overwhelmed the crowd — and interpreters — at Kabukiza Threatre on Thursday with his nonstop talk.
“I have a feeling that non-Japanese today will not be happy when I’m talking because simultaneous interpretation of my talk is impossible,” he declared before his performance of live narration of an old silent film.
“I just keep talking and also often go off on a tangent,” he said at super speed in Japanese, prior to an event of the Tokyo International Film Festival in collaboration with the traditional Japanese art of kabuki, where foreign guests and media representatives were among the spectators.
The program included Furutachi’s talk and narration, a live storytelling of another movie by silent film benshi narrator Ichiro Kataoka and a performance by Kabuki actor Onoe Kikunosuke in an onnagata female role in “Sagi Musume” (“Heron Maiden”).
At a brief photo session prior to the event, he rattled through with his humorous observations of his surrounding and then asked the consecutive interpreter to ignore most of what he said when interpreting because they probably would not make sense to non-Japanese anyway.
“When I was offered this project, I said I want to dance together with Mr. Kikunosuke but they said no, that I had to do the talking. So today I’m just going to talk like crazy and then go home,” he said.
In his 40-minute talk session, the 61-year-old Tokyo native gave a comical explanation of the history of Japan while describing the background of the story of the classic Japanese silent film, “Chushingura,” which would be shown later in the evening with Kataoka’s live narration.
Furutachi, who stepped down at the end of March as anchor of “Hodo Station,” the signature news show of TV Asahi, after 12 years, gave a try at his own version of storytelling to what remains of a 1928 silent film, “Blood’s Up at Takata-no-Baba.”
His six-minute run included a scene of the main character running at full speed to a battlefield, which he described as an athlete who “must have been doping” or “may have also been on medical cannabis,” drawing laughter from the audience.