So normally I don’t cover Japanese comedians (unless they are linked to the yakuza), but popular veteran Ken Shimura passing away from COVID-19 is notable not just because of his career but also because I think he’s the first celebrity in Asia to succumb to the virus (officially, at least).
Ken Shimura, a veteran slapstick comedian and onetime member of rock ’n’ roll band and comedy group The Drifters, a household name in Japan in the 1970s and 1980s, died of pneumonia caused by the new coronavirus Sunday, his agency said Monday. He was 70. Shimura was hospitalized on March 20 after developing a fever and being diagnosed with severe pneumonia. He tested positive for the virus on March 23, becoming the first Japanese entertainment figure to announce an infection.
For those not familiar with his work, some music nerd provided a reminder.
I’m more of the “Shimura Dobutsuen” era, so I had no idea that a Ken Shimura show from the ’80s directly inspired the creation of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” https://t.co/VDMetOydNM— Patrick St. Michel (@mbmelodies) March 30, 2020