Veteran comedian Koji Nakamoto dies after car accident

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Koji Nakamoto in 2017

Koji Nakamoto, an actor and member of The Drifters comedy group, died Wednesday after being struck by a car. He was 81.

Nakamoto was hit by a car in Yokohama on Tuesday. He was taken to a hospital with serious head injuries and died of an acute subdural hematoma.

Born in Tokyo, Nakamoto performed with a band while studying at Gakushuin University. He became acquainted with Boo Takagi, another Drifters member, and joined the group, which was led by Chosuke Ikariya, at Takagi’s suggestion in the mid-1960s.

The Drifters initially focused on band activities. After the TBS comedy skit program “Hachiji Dayo! Zenin Shugo” (It’s 8 o’clock! Everyone assemble) started in 1969 and became a big hit, Nakamoto was a strong supporting player for the group’s main comics, including Cha Kato.

He gained popularity himself with a gymnastics skit, drawing on the athletic ability honed when Nakamoto belonged to a gymnastics club in his school days.

After “Hachiji Dayo!” ended in 1985, Nakamoto acted in a series of dramas, including TV Asahi’s historical drama “Toyama no Kin-san.”