Team Dick

Million Dollar Tanaka

Posted by @ 7:48 PM on Jun 20, 2012

What kind of dicks would abandon their blog?

Let’s begin with some Gaki no Tsukai fun. The video below is part of a series where the Gaki members decide one of them or their staff is acting oddly and so they decide to follow them after a taping to see why their target has been acting so strange lately. In this installment they’re on to Tanaka Naoki.

However to fully enjoy this clip there’s a certain person you need to know about.

Yusaku Matsuda Is The Coolest Guy Around

Yusaku Matsuda (松田 優作) is an extremely popular Japanese actor who people outside of Japan finally got to see in action in the 1989 action film Black Rain. But long before Black Rain came about Matsuda made quite an impression as the character “Ji-Pan” (ジーパン) in the 1973 Japanese police detective series Taiyō ni Hoero! (太陽に吠えろ; “Bark at the Sun”). Ji-Pan is Japanese slang for blue jeans (“jean pants” becomes “ji-pan”) and Matsuda’s character is given that nickname because he wears blue jeans while the other detectives are wearing suits. In Matsuda’s final episode of the series his character dies in a scene that has become Japanese legend. In the scene he’s shot in the stomach, but doesn’t seem to realize it at first. When he finally does realize it he screams out “What is this?!” (なんじゃこらぁ, romanji: nan ja ko raa). You can see bits of this ending in the clip below including Matsuda’s iconic scream.

Matsuda’s look and cool demeanor would be a source of inspiration for countless characters in movies and television shows such as Spike Spiegel in the anime series Cowboy Bebop.


A Tragic Turn

Before beginning filming on Black Rain Matsuda was diagnosed with cancer. Matsuda felt that the side-effects of chemotherapy would hinder his ability to perform and opted to not receive the treatment. He did not tell anyone involved with the movie about his condition. After filming was complete Matsuda’s cancer was found to have spread and become inoperable. He died about a month after Black Rain opened in October, 1989.

A Doppelgänger

Tanaka bears a striking resemblance to Matsuda. A fact that has not been lost on those he works with. Which brings us to the video at the start of this post. Nearly the entire episode is a tribute to the many iconic characters Matsuda has played over the years. It’s not the only time Tanaka has taken on the roles of Matsuda. In 2006, during the annual Gaki no Tsukai batsu game in which Hamada, Yamasaki and Tanaka’s comedy partner Endo would take on the role of police officers, Tanaka would channel Matsuda once again. Tanaka and Matsumoto tormented the other three by dressing up in white suits like Ji-Pan in his final episode and putting on a small magic act and ending every trick by shouting Matsuda’s iconic line “What is this?!”

There’s a bunch of clips of Matsuda on YouTube worth digging up and watching. To close this post out I’ll give you two more. The first is 10 minutes worth of commercials he starred in, usually portraying the characters or character types he became famous for. The second is Matsuda singing and being the cool guy he’ll always be.