Takamatsu Nana Tries Her Hand at Satire
Last night I had the pleasure of seeing comedian Takamatsu Nana live in Shinjuku in a unique performance in which she performed satirical comedy and then spent the second half of the show discussing the comedy/entertainment world with Nakata Atsuhiko of the comedy duo Oriental Radio. The performance of Takamatsu was quite refreshing considering how few comedians in Japan attempt societal/political satire these days. It was the final in a series of comedy performance/symposiums where Takamatsu performed satirical comedy and then had a discussion with a famous person. Other symposiums featured television journalist Tahara Souichiro, critic Uno Tsunehiro, comedian Hanawa Nobuyuki (of the manzai duo Knights), and alpinist Noguchi Ken.
Takamatsu Nana is a bit of an odd duck herself in the comedy world, having come from a rather rich family and being highly educated herself. Takamatsu graduated from Ferris Women’s College and Keio University, both highly regarded schools and her act when she originally came on to the comedy scene was that of an elite “princess” of sorts (the term loses something in the translation from Japanese). Now, after a period of not performing, Takamatsu is trying her hand at political and societal satire and from the looks of things last night her first attempt went very well. On top of her comedy career and her day job as a director for NHK (the government run television station), Takamatsu is also running a company named Shoukason Juku with the mission of using comedy to get young people interested in government. It’s an interesting and admirable mission considering the general lack of interest in politics by young people in Japan.
One of my favorite comedic routines of the night featured Takamatsu in a costume straight out of a children’s program singing a rather cute song that actually addressed the lack of sexual education today in Japan. With a poppy melody that belongs more on Sesame Street the song took on misconceptions created by pornographic movies and the Internet while promoting the use of contraceptives (both condoms and the pill). It was a routine that I would love to eventually see on television in the future but I’m not holding my breath.
It was interesting to see Takamatsu attempt to cover many difficult topics in her comedy, a shift from her earlier routines which focused more on her upbringing and unusually rich background. I hope that in the future I can talk more with her about her thoughts regarding satire in Japan and bring that interview to this site.