In light of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's sudden resignation, Japanese comedian Kuruo Hatoyama, who enjoyed brief success because of his striking resemblance to the prime minister, now finds himself basically out of a job.
“I am so thankful that I was able to get so much work simply because I looked like Mr Hatoyama,” said the comedian, whose real name is Ken Tsurumi. “It's too bad that I have nothing else to set me apart.”
Tsurumi, 35, enjoyed mild fame from the beginning of Hatoyama's run in office. Comedian and politician met briefly at a cherry blossom viewing party in April, but Tsurumi expressed some regret that he was unable to speak to Hatoyama in more detail.
“One day, I would love to share a drink with him and speak with him about the future of Japan,” Tsurumi concluded.
Tsurumi, who toiled in relative obscurity for almost two decades, suddenly found the promised land when Hatoyama came to power. Prior to that, he had been an assistant to high-profile comedian, actor and film director Beat Takeshi, using the stage name Chuji Abesada.
But last May — just before the DPJ elected Yukio Hatoyama as its leader — Takeshi advised him to put on a suit and jacket because he looked like the man who was then being touted as the next prime minister.
That's when he changed his stage name to Kuruo Hatoyama as well. In Japanese, Yukio’s “yuki” means “to go,” which is why the comedian went with Kuruo, with the “kuru” meaning “to come.”
Acting on his mentor’s instructions, he donned the suit and jacket — which before he only wore for funerals and wedding receptions — and changed his hairstyle for a taping of Takeshi’s TV program. When the show aired, his appearance generated an industry buzz.
After the DPJ won a landslide in the Aug 30 election, Takeshi told him to do his best “because you’ll have plenty of work for the next four years.”
From September, offers began pouring in for TV appearances and magazine interviews, the first time Tsurumi had been in demand in his 17 years in the entertainment business.
A company even started selling cans of green tea adorned with his photo at a store in Tokyo’s Akihabara district.© News reports