NewsAll News

KIFF 2018 Daily Report Day 2: Friday, October 12

2018/10/12 Report

The second day of KIFF 2018 kicked off with a ceremony at the Kyoto Hotel Okura for the latest recruits of Yoshimoto Creative Agency’s Sumimasu Geinin Project. This effort sends Japanese comedians (geinin) to live (sumimasu) in other countries across Asia. These entertainers are headed to Myanmar.

Tokyo-based company MCIP Holdings Co. announced three comedy units are scheduled to arrive in Myanmar on October 25 and start working there immediately. They include the Nagoya-born solo performer Mari Midorikawa, who is the first female comedian in the history of the Sumimasu Geinin Project. Also going are Tigers, a comedy trio formed especially for this project, and solo performer Akii, who has experience living in Myanmar and is conversational in the Burmese language.

MCIP Holdings was formed with the mission of spreading Japanese entertainment across Asia, and the Sumimasu Geinin Project is key to doing so. It also helps Yoshimoto to better understand entertainment markets in other countries. Including the latest recruits, there will be 14 different comedy units with a total of 21 comedians living and working in Asia. They have been deployed to Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, The Philippines and now Myanmar. While working to bring laughter to the people, the comedians also study the local languages, culture and comedy.

Mari Midorikawa performed a short skit in rapid-fire Japanese. She then showed off the language skills she has already acquired by repeating it in Burmese, causing reporter from Myanmar in the audience to laugh.
Tigers took to the stage with electric guitar and bass to share their goals for Myanmar in song. Naoya Abe explained that all three members have about 11years of experience in comedy, and since Hayato Endo plays bass and Okiru plays guitar, they decided to form a trio based around music.

Comedians currently working in Indonesia, Thailand and Taiwan shared a little advice with the new recruits. Akira, who is living in Indonesia, told them that considering the language and cultural barriers, it is best to keep jokes simple. With less than two weeks to go before their departure, the comedians were eager to practice a Burmese phrase that means, “we’ll do our best!”
At an event in the early afternoon at the Kyoto Hotel Okura, Yoshimoto Kogyo announced the establishment of Yoshimoto Game Studio. The company will give Yoshimoto a viable presence in the gaming world.

The new company is a bit of a surprise coming from Yoshimoto Kogyo, which is well known for comedy TV and films. But as Yujiro Saito, representative of the new company, explained at the launch ceremony that the thinking is to tap into the potential that would be created by the synergy of the entertainment business and the gaming business.

Three specific goals were stated for the new company. First, to create games that make use of Yoshimoto intellectual property; Second, to create games that are not limited to the parent company’s IP, but best match the market and user needs; And thirdly, to make games that only Yoshimoto could make, by having its extensive roster of comedians and artists get involved in the planning and development of games.

The stage was then filled with some of Yoshimoto’s top talent, including the duos Chocolate Planet, Trendy Angel and Garittochu, as well as solo performer Natsuko Yokosawa. Tsukasa Saito of Trendy Angel remarked that he loves playing games and looks forward to participating in creating some. Yokosawa said that she only plays mobile games, but her husband is a big gamer, so she really looks forward to the project. The comedians’ lively banter drew big laughs from the crowd, making clear that Yoshimoto has plenty of talent to mine for its upcoming games.

Later on Friday the Kyoto International Film and Art Festival continued its mission of promoting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, with a two-part program at the Yoshimoto Gion Kagetsu Theater in Kyoto’s historic Gion district.
The title of the program reflects the festival’s efforts to make learning about the 17 SDGs entertaining. The full, lengthy title is “From Movies to Stand-up Comedy and Yoshimoto New Comedy Troupe—Everything’s Happening at SDGs Kagetsu!”
The program kicked off with a screening of a documentary, with the title "Wareware wa Waretai (we just wanna laugh). It’ll make us happy if it catches on. That’s all we ask."

Comedian Yuichi Kimura directed the film, which was inspired by the Sustainable Development Goal number 17, which is about building global partnerships. Kimura thought that one way to explore the nature of partnerships would be through a staple of Japanese comedy—two-member standup known as manzai.

Kimura interviewed a total of 180 comedians about working so closely with another person. The one-hour documentary is made up of two long interviews held in cafes. The first is with All Hanshin Kyojin, a Yoshimoto comedy duo that got started way back in 1975. The second interview is with Daisuke and Hanako Miyagawa, who have been performing together since 1979 and have been married to each other for just as long.

After the screening, the director took to the stage with All Hanshin Kyojin and manga artist Tenten Hosokawa, who created the popular series “My SO Has Got Depression.” She based the story about a relationship put to the test by illness on her own marriage and her husband Akira Mochizuki joined her for the talk session.

The second half of the program was the “SDGs Grand Prix.” In this comedy showdown, popular performers chose one or two of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals and built 5-minute skits around them. The duo Trendy Angel chose the Goal 1 “No poverty” and Goal 6 “Clean water and sanitation” and created a rapid-fire scene about needing to go the restroom when there isn’t one anywhere nearby. Natsuko Yokosawa chose Goal 9 “Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure” and Goal 10 “Reducing inequalities” Working solo, she performed both roles in a skit about a mother and daughter discussing inequality, getting big laughs from the audience.

To wrap up the evening, all of the performers joined together in a song about SDGs. The audience laughed heartily throughout, proving the point that learning about SDGs can be fun.

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
About KIFF