Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A volcano in the courtroom

In Japan's comedy community is a very minor comedian whose stage name is Asosan Daifunka, which literally means "eruption of Mt. Aso". It was this name that first brought him to my attention—the real Mt. Aso is the active volcano in whose shadow sits our grower's tea farm, in Aso City, Japan.

Anyhow, this article [in English] discusses Mr. Daifunka's recent "career" as a courtroom observer, sitting in on obscure trials in the hope of getting "truth is stranger than fiction"-type nuggets from the proceedings. (Such as a man who stole a car and was caught attempting to drive it to a city hundreds of miles away. To sell it? No. When the judge asked him why, he said he badly wanted to visit a memorial [Japanese only] erected to his favorite singer, the late, great Yujiro Ishihara.)

In other words, he uses the Japanese justice systems as a source of comedic material. He's even written a book [in Japanese] about some of the real-life wackiness he's observed in the courtroom.

Mr. Daifunka got his start as a courtroom observer when his boss at the talent agency where he works sent him to observe the trial of Shoko Asahara, head of the cult that launched the sarin nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway back in 1995.

Here's his page [in Japanese] at the website of the talent agency that employs him.

—Mellow Monk

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