Chairman of Toyo Kogyo (Asakusa French-za Engeijo Toyokan) Hisayuki Matsukura’s Asakusa Rokku Geinoden (7th) ‘Kinichi Hagimoto’
In the previous issue, you talked about the great renovation of the Asakusa French-za Theater in 1959, the building of the new “Toyo Theater”, and the fateful encounter between Tohachiro, who was assigned there, and the boy who entered the theater as a research student.
The boy who was called “Kinbo” and loved by his seniors including Higashi, and gradually bloomed his hidden talent as he rose and fell seven times and eight times … He is Kin Chanko and Hagimoto Kinichi who became big stars. Approximately half a century (! ) has been loved by everyone from adults to children for a long time. Kin-chan is a national comedian who never forgets the spirit of challenge and hard work no matter how old she is and still gives us a lot of energy and courage. I would like to tell you the story of my youth in Asakusa that cultivated that human power.
Kinichi Hagimoto (real name: the same) was born in Taito Ward, Tokyo in 1941. My parents run a camera shop, and I had a relatively rich childhood, but as the social situation changed, the business gradually declined, and my family moved to the apartment we owned, which was the beginning of our relationship. He admired the world of comedy that he had loved since childhood, and when he was a high school student, he became a disciple of the Omiya Den Suke Gekidan, which was very popular in Asakusa at that time, but he was refused, saying, “You should at least graduate from school,” and when he revisited after graduation, he was refused again, saying that he was full this time (laughs). At that time, Toyo Theater, which had just started its business, was looking for research students, and they were hired at the right time.
The Toyo Theater had ace-class performers from both the Rock Theater and the French Theater in Shinjuku and Ikebukuro from the thought of leading the new business to success at any cost, and their encounter was Hagimoto’s best tailwind.
After becoming the first chairman, Ike Shinichi, Hagimoto, who is hard to come up with any ideas, quit the group! The second leader, Eiji Ishida, who believed in his uncivilized abilities and protected him many times, was known as a tasteful comedian. So, Ike and Ishida were both great seniors and masters to Hagimoto, but the one who became his greatest teacher was Higashi Hachiro, who became the third leader after the two left.
Comedians usually don’t give detailed instructions to their juniors. Newcomers do errands or whatever they want to do (lol) At 46 o’clock, they follow their seniors around, imprint their skills in their eyes, let them soak in their bodies, and learn by themselves. But East is different. and she would teach them, in a very careful manner, from one to ten, that they would do it this way, and that they would receive it. He was of course a great talent as an entertainer, but he was also very good at raising people. I had a kind and caring personality from the start, and since I was loved by my seniors and developed my talents, I think I also had the feeling that I would raise my juniors and give them back.
Azuma must have helped Hagimoto a lot in private life as well as in art. At that time, Hagimoto’s family business, which had been in a slump, was finally going bankrupt, and she must have had a hard time financially, and she must have felt lonely. Higashi might have been a kind brother to him as well as a master and benefactor. In any case, there is no doubt that the meeting with “Hachiro” opened up the future of “Kinbo.”
Still, I think that human relationships are really strange. They were both Edokko (children of Edo) and grew up familiar with Asakusa Comedy, and both of them met as masters and apprentices under similar circumstances, having entered Toyo Kogyo at the same age. Both of them became wonderful top comedians who would bring laughter all over Japan.
The success factor is really different. Talent, effort, and luck of the time … All of them are necessary, but the most decisive hit is, after all, a good encounter. What is more important is the honest heart that appreciates the meeting and lets you learn something. I think only those who have such a straight mind can make the given chance come true.
Thanks to you, the long-awaited Oriental Theatre made a smooth start, but the popularity of the Franco-za Theater, which moved upstairs, was still strong, and there were days when it was even easier to enter than the Oriental Theatre, which had more seats. So one time, I tried an interesting experiment, trading comedians from both theaters.
At this time, Hagimoto moved to the Franco-za, where he had a dramatic encounter.
The upperclassman with a strange stage name of “Ando Roll” was a partner of fate who later paired up and made a big break as “Cont No. 55” …!