Let's discuss comedians in trouble

This week’s featured article


Hiroyuki Miyasako, a member of comedy duo Ameagari Kesshitai, offered an apology at a news conference on July 20 for performing at an event hosted by an organized crime group and receiving money from it. “I would like to apologize to everyone,” Miyasako, who had his contract with entertainment company Yoshimoto Kogyo Co. terminated a day earlier, said at the news conference, held in Tokyo. “I’m really sorry.”

Miyasako, 49, said that he is “not thinking” of retiring from the entertainment industry at the moment. Ryo Tamura, 47, a member of comedy duo London Boots Ichi-go Ni-go, who also appeared in the event in question, joined the news conference. The two bowed deeply.

In late June, Yoshimoto Kogyo suspended Miyasako, Tamura and nine other comedians for attending the event. On July 13, the company said that Miyasako and Tamura received ¥1 million and ¥500,000, respectively, from the crime group as payment.

Asked why he did not hold a news conference soon after the scandal came to light, Miyasako said that the entertainment company stopped him from holding such an event. According to Miyasako, he informed the company in early June about receiving the payment from the group, but Yoshimoto Kogyo decided to wait and see what happened. Miyasako said that the company threatened to fire everyone involved in the scandal if he held a news conference.

Yoshimoto Kogyo President Akihiko Okamoto was expected to hold his own news conference on July 22 to explain the situation.

Miyasako initially said he did not receive money from the crime group. But at Saturday’s news conference, he admitted he lied. “I was trying to save my own skin,” he said. Tamura said that he was “dissatisfied” with the company for not allowing a news conference to be held. “I’ve been banned from telling the truth, and I can’t stand it any more.”

“I personally want my contract (with Yoshimoto) to be ended,” he added. Tamura said that he is “unable to think” about retiring from the showbiz industry at the moment.

First published in The Japan Times on July 21.

Warm up

One minute chat about comedy


Collect words related to scandal:

e.g., gossip, newspaper, paparazzi

New words

1) save one’s own skin: to protect oneself from trouble without concern for others, e.g. “Mike saved his own skin and told the teacher about his friend’s misbehavior.”

2) showbiz: entertainment world (show business), e.g. “Cher is an icon in showbiz.”

Guess the headline

Scandal-hit c_ _ _ _ _ _ _ s apologize for receiving money for c_ _ _ _ group event


1) Why did Hiroyuki Miyasako apologize?

2) What did Miyasako lie about?

3) Why didn’t Miyasako hold a news conference soon after the scandal came to light?

Let’s discuss the article

1) How often do you see comedians on TV or hear them on radio, etc.?

2) What do you think about this kind of apology-focused news conference?

3) Do you think Yoshimoto Kogyo made the wrong decision?






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