One of my favorite Japanese personalities is by far the very popular comedian Chihara Junior 千原ジュニア.
There is no way for me to explain what it is about this comedian that intrigues me. He is by no means an イケメン, (ikemen), a phrase used to describe a young, good-looking and very cool actor or model, but still I am drawn to him in the most interesting way.
I was first introduced to him a few years ago during my KAT-TUN days. I was a big fan of KAT-TUN and their music at the time and they had a TV show called Cartoon KAT-TUN (it’s not supposed to make sense and there were absolutely no cartoons involved). On the show, they had guests on to talk about their lives and careers by way of a 100-question questionnaire. The answers to the questionnaire would scroll on the screen by way of a computer-generated image and they would stop the scroll when they found something interesting from the questionnaire to discuss. On one of the episodes the guest was 千原兄弟, Chihara Kyoudai – or the Chihara Brothers which consisted of Chihara Junior and his older brother Seiji. Throughout the whole show it was obvious that Junior was the outgoing one of the duo. Everything he talked about had a story to it and I was intrigued by his storytelling style. From then on, I became a fan.
In addition to being a comedian, he’s also an actor and MC for various variety programs. He is constantly being badgered about getting married because he’s 38 and his older brother is married with a child. He also takes a lot of flack for being extremely particular – in the States we call it being OCD. Some people think that’s a bad thing – I like it. He totally loves cleaning and it bothers him when others’ homes aren’t as clean as his. Granted, I may not fold my socks the way he does (seriously, he showed the audience on a show how he folds his socks when asked by the host to demonstrate) but I can totally appreciate a tidy person. He even has his own way of folding laundry – and if someone else folds it for him, he’ll do it over!
The most interesting part about my draw to Chihara Junior is that I don’t completely understand him. My level of Japanese is not high enough to understand all the jokes that he tells but it never stops me from laughing at the punchline. His delivery is just that good and entertaining. Plus he is from Osaka and speaks a different dialect all together – although most of his work is done in Tokyo so I think now he speaks in such a way that most people in that area can understand him. Granted, if I knew exactly what he was saying all the time, perhaps my intrigued would change for better or for worse. I guess more studying and time will tell.
In the meantime, I will continue to support my funny comedian all the while studying with the thought in mind that one day I will finally get the punchline.