Chairperson of Toyo Kogyo Co., Ltd. (Asakusa-France-za Engei Hall, Toyo-kan) Hisayuki Matsukura’s Asakusa-Rokku Geinoden (12) “Takeshi Kitano (Kitano) part 2”
Last time, we talked about the part where Takeshi decided to take off from the Franciscan theater in preparation for a break with his beloved Master Fukami. But it was a bitter challenge for him to confide his decision to his master.
Because before I knew it, the two of them had developed a deep bond that extended beyond mere teacher-student relationships to carnal love ….
Ever since he decided to leave the French theater, Takeshi paired up with a junior who got along well with him, and when the stage hit, he would sneak up to the rooftop and devote himself to the art of self-discipline.
That’s how the staid and loyal Takeshi thought. And once I was confident, I was going to tell my master my intention to be independent.
But on such occasions, my companion became seriously ill. Takeshi’s shock must have been unfathomable because he had been striving so hard to achieve success with his dear friend. But if we give up now, everything will go up in smoke. I have to take along the thoughts of my best friend, who had fallen halfway through, and fly to the front stage at any cost …!
By this time, Takeshi’s ability was already recognized by everyone around him, but there was a man who had his eye on his talent from early on. I’m Kenkojiro (later Beat Kiyoshi), a senior comedian. Although he had been training hard under Fukami since his days as a rock star, he was impatient because he could not seem to bud, and he saw the potential in Takeshi’s genius and fun, so he kept sending love calls to the two of them to form a stand-up comedy duo and become independent.
For a long time, Takeshi never shook his head at Kaneko’s invitation. I knew Master Fukami didn’t like stand-up comedy, and he wasn’t interested in it himself, so he wanted to compete in a skit straight from his master.
But now that we have lost our partner, this is no time for four-five. Meeting Kaneko was one of the reasons. A challenge to stand-up comedy is a chance. I switched my mind that this was a step I needed to take to get out into the world and decided to accept Kaneko’s invitation.
The breakup turned out to be more painful than I imagined.
Takeshi, who formed a manzai duo with Kaneko and decided to break away from the Franciscan troupe, plucked up the courage to tell his master what was on his mind. No matter how much you are blamed or yelled at, you can’t help it. I’m prepared for that ….
Instead of yelling, Fukami fell silent after hearing Takeshi’s words. There was evidently a slight shadow of sorrow behind his eyes. How much easier it would have been to get hit. The scars he had made on his master’s heart were imprinted on Takeshi’s own, just as they were.
How Fukami loved Takeshi. And how deeply he had devoted himself. I don’t know any other teacher or student who is so close. That’s why I’m still heartbroken when I think about how they felt then.
But I guess I can only assume that this pain was inevitable. We all trade great trials for the key to a glorious future ….
Since then, Takeshi and Kaneko seem to have gone through a lot of hardships. The Gala of La Francais was a sparrow’s tear, but it never occurred to him that he would experience more poverty. I guess the story that I was so hungry that I even ate a Sensoji dove wasn’t a lie (laughs).
Even in a one-guest theater, he performed the opening act, made a living in cabaret sales, and gradually acquired his skills through trial and error. I think Kaneko’s generosity in not denying any flirtation with Takeshi and letting him do it freely was also wonderful. Their unique style, a stand-up comedy novel enough to defy conventional notions, was controversial but gradually attracted attention, and before long, the two became the darlings of their time.
Combi name arame, ‘Two Beats.’. This is how Beat Takeshi and Beat Kiyoshi came into the world.
Despite all the twists and turns, Fukami must have been delighted that in any form his beloved pupil Takeshi became a super popular megastar, and even after the manzai craze passed, he brilliantly blossomed with his over-abundance of talent. The bond between master and pupil, which seemed to have been broken for a while, thawed over time, and at some point Takeshi could be seen in the streets of Asakusa taking time out of his busy schedule to meet his master.
But the second parting came suddenly one day.
On a night in the middle of winter in 1983, Fukami, who was apparently smoking in bed in the apartment where he lived alone, started a small fire from the mismanagement of the fire and suddenly became a restless person.
What an impact Takeshi had. Someday I wanted to surpass my master’s art, and from now on I wanted to do more and more “filial duty” to my parents … All sorts of thoughts must have come and gone and tightened my heart. For Fukami, however, the least relief was that the day had come again to drink with his “beloved son,” and, above all, that Takeshi had made such an excellent career rise.
For Takeshi, the master has become something he can never surpass. But in my deep view, I wonder if Takeshi had already surpassed himself. I’m sure he was satisfied that he was able to develop his best apprentice in the end. Because he looked really good when he talked about Takeshi with a bit of pride.
It was an eventful life, a sad end, but I’m sure he was happy. Especially the last days of his life with Takeshi ….
Sometimes we hear such words as “The light of the Asakusa comedy went out with Fukami.” and “No, Takeshi is the last Asakusa entertainer.”. Is the “last Asakusa entertainer” really Fukami or Takeshi …?
I dare say, “Neither.”. The light of Asakusa comedy has not been turned off. Even now, it still lights up in the hearts of young people who are training hard to dream of becoming tomorrow’s stars.
Kiyoshi Atsumi, Shinsuke Minami, Hachiro Azuma, Kinichi Hagimoto and Takeshi Beat. In the window of the Asakusa France-za Engei Hall, the Oriental Building, there are pin-ups of the faces of so many performers who have left our theater. With the sincere hope that the genius entertainers who follow them will one day be born again from here. There is no such thing as a backward word for “last” in this city. Asakusa Rokku Broadway is always connected to the future!