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Japanese comedian Ken Shimura dies from coronavirus-caused pneumonia

97 Comments
By Mari Yamaguchi

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97 Comments
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So sad! RIP.

15 ( +18 / -3 )

RIP.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Brilliant artist.

"Japanese english teacher teaches foreigners english" was one of my fav sketches on Youtube.

RIP.

24 ( +27 / -3 )

RIP

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Wow... I'm in shock... RIP

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Onemof my favorite comedians anywhere and I really loved his comedy with the Drifters. RIP.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

RIP Ken, may your passing save thousands of others.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

Shivering coal mine

A little, old canary

Alert us of the bomb

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

yeah I watched the drifters allot back in the day, and it was funny stuff. having said that, Shimura is a kind of model of what many Japanese men are; heavy smokers, drinkers and womanizers at clubs etc.

0 ( +11 / -11 )

One of the greatest of all time. He will be missed.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

One of the greatest of all time. He will be missed.

I went sour on him with that whole performing chimp thing. Shock collars are so wrong.

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

"Japanese english teacher teaches foreigners english" was one of my fav sketches on Youtube.

Yes, this was a classic. RIP Ken. We also lost country singer Joe Diffie (In Another World) today too from covid-19 complications. Sadly, I'm sure there will be many more. Stay safe everyone!

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Maybe the government will take it seriously now!

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Shivering coal mine

A little, old canary

Alert us of the bomb

not necessarily. Shimura was not exactly a walking example of all things healthy. He was a heavy smoker and drinker, with reduced lung capacity Im sure.

13 ( +21 / -8 )

Rest in piece...

Japanese government, please issue a request to stay home about work either.

It's so weird that we stay home just on weekend and go to work using crowded trains on weekday...

10 ( +14 / -4 )

Meanwhile, plenty of people out on the streets...still.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Man, I watched him on the Drifters and throughout my time here. He was one of the few funny comedians (if somewhat sexist, too).

Japanese English teacher video:

https://youtu.be/Ic53hhFllPM

6 ( +10 / -4 )

One of the VERY few Japanese comedians who was actually funny. RIP

10 ( +17 / -7 )

RIP. Perhaps people will now start taking this unprecedented seriously, and stop going to restaurants, bars and izakaya. Lets hope so.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

not necessarily. Shimura was not exactly a walking example of all things healthy. He was a heavy smoker and drinker, with reduced lung capacity Im sure.

That is why the comparison, the canary was terribly fragile and died quickly from the toxic fumes, therefore alerting the much more resilient humans that it was dangerous long before they were poisoned themselves.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

He was a very heavy smoker. Probably had COPD from that. Supposedly heavy smokers are more apt to have serious complications. RIP!

6 ( +9 / -3 )

I watch his show "Shimura Dobutsuen" with my kids almost every week. My kids are more in shock than I am. He was a good guy and I liked what he was doing with that show. RIP.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Funny? What about 'Sandowichiman'...

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Get used to seeing more of this.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

RIP

5 ( +8 / -3 )

RIP Ken Shimura san

5 ( +8 / -3 )

So sad may his soul rest in peace.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Loved him back in the 70's when I first came to Japan....The only Japanese show I wanted to watch"

RIP my friend

2 ( +3 / -1 )

RIP.

Hope his passing will show the population the reality of this virus,

And a wake up call to the so called experts or those appearing on TV to

Stop the deliberate disinformation.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Ken chan!

Rest In Peace.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

One of the VERY few Japanese comedians who was actually funny. RIP

Puh-lease! Just because you can’t understand what the other comedians are saying doesn’t mean they aren’t funny!

-13 ( +7 / -20 )

An absolute master of slapstick. In an entertainment world of ephemeral performers, he was a giant.

He will be sorely missed.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

RIP. I liked this guy. Perhaps his death will hit home that this is NOT a joke. Crowded trains and new school schedules suggest it’s still being treated otherwise, though. Oh! But please stay home in weekends!

1 ( +11 / -10 )

Shame! This guy taught me Japanese. Not directly, of course. I used to watch the Drifters every Saturday. Most of the gags were repeated each week with minor differences, so if you didn't get it this week, you'd probably pick it up next week. When there was almost no English on TV 45 years ago, it was great just to be able to understand something!

Many other "comedians" on Japanese TV are either "one trick ponies" or use ridicule and make fun of people. Shimura Ken was neither. He was a professional and will be missed.

(Invalid CSRF)

19 ( +20 / -1 )

Very sobering.

I imagine that if there is an afterlife, he'll be knocking 'em out with his famous Kamisama skit.

Puh-lease! Just because you can’t understand what the other comedians are saying doesn’t mean they aren’t funny!

I understand what the other comedians are saying.

Most of them are not funny, and certainly not fit to wear Shimura Ken's shoes.

RIP, Tono

12 ( +17 / -5 )

RIP! He will be greatly missed.

One of the reasons I started learning Japanese was because of watching his show back in the day. I am heartbroken.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

RIP, the guy was hilarious and lots of his videos on YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ic53hhFllPM

2 ( +3 / -1 )

One of the VERY few Japanese comedians who was actually funny. RIP

Indeed. Only Shimura and Matsuko Deluxe regularly make me chuckle.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I understand what the other comedians are saying.

Most of them are not funny, and certainly not fit to wear Shimura Ken's shoes.

Good for you! Many are not funny, but Dango Bong suggesting that "very few" Japanese comedians are funny is completely off. And if you want to compare them, sure, Ken-chan was far better / funnier than many, but there are still plenty that are funny.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

I loved his stuff when I was a kid growing up in the 1980s and as a teen in the 1990s. I've seen stories about several famous people dying from coronavirus, and these people are quite rich. If even the richest people who can get the best medical treatment are dying, what about the rest of us?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

RIP. Perhaps people will now start taking this unprecedented seriously, and stop going to restaurants, bars and izakaya. Lets hope so.

Yup. It often takes something like this to cause people to finally pay attention to an issue.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

A sad news. Although considered as an all time, full-fledged comedian, Mr Shimura was going to play a serious figure in a film as well as TV drama series just this year. Such would be quite surprising and extraordinary (just like Sasha Baron Cohen playing Eli Cohen in The Spy... I'm not sure if it's a proper analogy.) His loss at this moment is very unfortunate.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Very sad. I loved him since "The Drifters" times. He will be missed very much. RIP.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

RIP. Thanks for all the laughs over the years.

NOW, Japan, START TO TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY!

1 ( +6 / -5 )

And yet I still see people congregating outside. It's like people are brain dead.

OK to be outside (I ride my bicycle a lot in these times), but don't congregate, and wear a mask FFS if you are around a high concentration of people.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Terribly sad news.

Can't believe it.

My family loved Ken's antics with his animal friends on weekend nights.

RIP Ken..taken way too soon.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

His programs with Pan kun (the little chimpanzee) were so funny. RIP!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

RIP

My wife is so sad about this as she grew up watching his Bakatonosama show. I know people get on others about being sad when celebrities pass away because we don't inow them personally. For me when they die, it feels like a small piece of me dies with because of all of my good memories. That is how I felt as a Lakers fan with Kobe's passing.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

A truly witty comedian - unlike many.

His "smily" face also drew people towards him. i guess they could relate to his ordinariness. He always came across as the likeable funny guy next door.

However, I never liked the skits with pan-kun the chimp. Always felt sorry for him (pan-kun) and how people thought watching the antics of a chimp in human clothes & human situations was funny. Sadly so did Pan-kun as he almost killed an assistant trainer.

But Shimura-san will be remembered as a cut above most comedians.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

大好きでしたHe was my best comedian and actor, I have seen his all episodes .

大丈夫だ

悲しい

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Ahheeen. As my hand moves to cut my throat. Brilliant man especially with the Chimpanzee

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Sad and shocking news. He was one of the first comedians I found when coming to Japan long ago. Everyone knew him. Seeing his passing because of this virus is sad, but hopefully will spur people here to take this more seriously than they have. RIP.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

@The Long Termer

Man, he stopped smoking in 2016. Agreed though, he wasn't the epitome of good health.

RIP ken-chan, and have a Corona for me in heaven, bro.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Rock Hudson for Japan? Maybe people will start taking this more seriously.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

However, I never liked the skits with pan-kun the chimp. Always felt sorry for him (pan-kun) and how people thought watching the antics of a chimp in human clothes & human situations was funny. Sadly so did Pan-kun as he almost killed an assistant trainer.

One could almost say he went ape.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I am crushed.

His comedy antics brought tears of laughter for me.

And now I have tears of sadness.

Rest In Peace, Shimura san.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Unfortunaetly its going to take the deaths of well known people before many in Japan wake tf up and take this pandemic seriously, just because Japanese dont shake hands or kiss in public doesnt mean Japan is immune

2 ( +7 / -5 )

RIP

fans and media gathered outside the hospital where he had been treated.

Japanese are not listening...

Please, it is not comedy !

1 ( +5 / -4 )

A True Japanese comedic Icon.

Thank you for laughs and the charitable work and contributions made in Japan.

Japan will not be the same without you.

A fan. R.I.P.

Some of his best work.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmVk3etg-3I

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Absolutely terrible. Shimura Ken was the first Japanese comedian to really make me laugh you know; not a fake laugh, but the deep down healthy laugh. His comedic depictions of different Japanese personalities, and how they interacted with each other in different relationships to one another always held my interest; and his intertwining slapstick made everything just gel so nicely. He made me love Japan all the more. He will surely be missed. Definitely one of the greats we have lost.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

here is some good information about the coronavirus , that should put to bed what many internet experts seems to thing it is or isnt.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2YKKba6ps0

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Japanese are famous for leading a long life in the world , it is sad that Kim Shimura has succumbed to Covid

19 pandemic which starting from Wuhan . is now spreading havoc in the world. Early development of an effective vaccine is urgent need of the hour to curb its spread.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Very sad news, but maybe his death will help shake off the complacency here.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

R.I.P. - you brought us many fun-filled hoa. Will be missed!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Heart broken, tears kerp coming.

Goodbye sweet man.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I was really saddened by this. I’ve spent some fun times watching his funniest skits on youtube. Some, over and over.

Looks like I’m not the only gaijin who was happy to get to the point where you could understand what he was saying and the people he was portraying.

His humor was often totally politically incorrect (Benny Hill style), but that made it funnier.

Outrageous sometimes - one with Beat Takeshi comes to mind.

Lady Di, September 11, and now Shimura Ken. I will always remember where I was when I saw the news.

You know you’re good when foreigners who learn the language love your comedy.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

i saw shimura kens soba skit a couple weeks ago with my wife and it was almost beat for beat the same skit he did 25 years ago that i watched with my grandparents when i was kid.

it was the first time my wife had seen the skit but i remembered each joke so more than being amused at the surprise jokes, i was wistfully thinking about how shimura san has been providing laughter in my home across generations.

better to burn out than fade away.

truly a legend. rest in peace.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

To go so fast is so nice. I hope to fade quickly s well. Never want to put a burden on the family friends and hospital system lingering for years on a ventilator and tubes. Rest in Peace funny man. You were my favorite Japanese wacky comedian and Jerry Lewis was too. You idolized Jerry. Smart man as well.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

random story.

years ago, a girl in a club asked me what i liked. i told her shimura ken. she asked me to tell a shimura ken joke. i refused multiple times. she insisted and wouldn't leave me alone.

so i looked at her deadpan and said "im thirsty for mango juice" in japanese... a classic shimura gag...

instantly she slapped me across the face and not in a joking manner.

i was confused but walked away.

later that night i was standing outside having a smoke and this girl was leaving... and as she walked up the stairs she tripped and fell upwards, not hard enough to hurt but enough to need to gather herself.

from the bottom on the stairs i yelled out a hearty nelson muntz HAH HAH... she turned around to see who it was. we made direct eye contact and both knew that balance was restored in the universe.

thanks for the laughs ken!

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

" Shimura Ken was hospitalized on March 20 after developing a fever and being diagnosed with severe pneumonia. He tested positive for the virus on March 23". He passed away on the 29th.

And yes, he was a heavy smoker and drinker. RIP to a very funny and talented entertainer

8 ( +10 / -2 )

So he didn't die from coronavirus but pneumonia? Could that explain why there are so few coronavirus deaths in Japan? Could it be because they are called pneumonia deaths instead?

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

wow...this really sucks...RIP

2 ( +5 / -3 )

years ago, a girl in a club asked me what i liked. i told her shimura ken. she asked me to tell a shimura ken joke. i refused multiple times. she insisted and wouldn't leave me alone.

so i looked at her deadpan and said "im thirsty for mango juice" in japanese... a classic shimura gag...

instantly she slapped me across the face and not in a joking manner.

Reads like Doc Daneeka’s newlywed story!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

VERY VERY VERY SORRY.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

gaijintraveller: "So he didn't die from coronavirus but pneumonia? Could that explain why there are so few coronavirus deaths in Japan? Could it be because they are called pneumonia deaths instead?"

Yes, absolutely. I and others talked about this on previous threads in terms of why Japan's count is "so low". Some in the media are calling it out for what it is, with one source saying literally "Attemps to Save Olympics Kills Ken Shimura", and with Osaka Governor Yoshimura countering Koike by saying we shouldn't let his death be in vain and do nothing.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Huge loss for the Japanese entertainment world. Shimura Ken was my favorite Japanese funny man. For me, no one else comes close. Make 'em laugh in heaven, Ken-chan. You will be missed.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

RIP - even though it was hard to follow what he was saying at times, his persona exhibited a Natural Comedian-like atmosphere that could be liked by anyone were he to simply walk into the room.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@syzyguy - I think it must have been your pronunciation of mango that got you the slap over the face - don't mix you k's and g's.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"He was an man, take him for all in all.

I shall not look upon his like again."

Willian Shakespeare - Hamlet - Act I, scene 2

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

When a Comedian passes, crack a joke... what better way to uphold the life they lived.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Man was originally a french word hence the particles 'an'.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

'particle' damn auto-correct!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

As I write this my wife has Japanese TV on, thunderous canned laughter every ten seconds from celebrity quiz shows about drinking beer and wearing funny hats, I might have thought that tonight, particularly from the entertainment industry, that there might have been some tiny measure of adoration, reverence, quiet, observance of respect, honor, esteem, loyalty, genuflection, veneration, homage or dare I say love for their fallen colleague! ...Obviously, I was wrong!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Sorry to hear the News.

Very sad.

Rest in peace.

高倉健にも比肩する存在感ある演技が大好きでした。

安らかにお眠りください。

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A bigger national hero than any athlete, any politician, any craftsman. Ningen kokuho - check. Kokumin Eiyo Sho - check. Absolutely BRILLIANT!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

69 and heavy smoker. He was definitely in the high-risk group. RIP.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

gaijintraveller:

So he didn't die from coronavirus but pneumonia? Could that explain why there are so few coronavirus deaths in Japan? Could it be because they are called pneumonia deaths instead?

Probably... and by the same token Italy's deaths are so high because every pneumonia or other death that ALSO has corona is counted as a corona death. Labelling is a large part of all these statistics.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Probably... and by the same token Italy's deaths are so high because every pneumonia or other death that ALSO has corona is counted as a corona death.

You keep repeating this, but have shown nothing to show that other countries aren't also doing this, other than a single statement by a single Italian, who may or may not know what he's talking about.

So your 'probably' could just as logically be 'probably not', since we don't have anything to show one way or the other.

Personally, I think other countries are also counting deaths from underlying issues exasperated by Covid in their death count, as indicated by the fact that they talk about how it disproportionately affect those with underlying health issues. That said, unlike you, I'm willing to state clearly that this is just a suspicion, and has not been confirmed by any actual evidence.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Countless people laughed for years while watching Shimuraさん. Job well done, rest well funny man.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

RIP Ken Shimura. He was funny, genuinely funny.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

RIP, amazing talent lost to Japan, so sad.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I usually don’t get too wrapped in the deaths of celebrities because they are just a persona to their fans general public. Very rarely can one even meet and speak to famous people in person. However Shimura Ken was especially endearing to me. He helped me make a connection with Japan with a type of humor that was easy for even a foreigner to enjoy. Loved the Kato and Ken sketch comedy. Really sad to hear of his passing.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Good for you! Many are not funny, but Dango Bong suggesting that "very few" Japanese comedians are funny is completely off.

I have been here for 27 years so your suggestion I can't understand Japanese is off and in my time here I have thought two comedians were funny. Ken was one.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

His programs with Pan kun (the little chimpanzee) were so funny.

you know the bandana was covering up a shock collar? where is the fun in that?

check what happens when the chimps reach puberty, Jane Goodall has good info on it.

https://www.janegoodall.org.au/great-apes/

0 ( +2 / -2 )

RIP!

We like soooo much.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Some people on here have called Ken Shimura a Japanese version of Benny Hill. That's about right. Ken was often playing the part of the dirty old man in different situations, so I was a bit when I saw one of my female Japanese HS students told me how sad she was that he'd died. I don't think so many young girls in the Western Countries felt the same way about Benny Hill (or even knew who he was) when he passed away.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

An actual tragedy

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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