REPORT: 'Japan's Robin Williams' Dies Due To Coronavirus
One of Japan's most beloved entertainers has succumbed to the coronavirus. Ken Shimura has passed away after suffering from complications caused by the deadly COVID-19.
He was 70.
Bidding An Icon Goodbye
Ken Shimura, a native of Tokyo, is well-loved for his wit and humor. His amazing talent has made a lot of Japanese people happy. He has been a household name and was considered the "Robin Williams of Japan."
"He was very popular among a wide range of generations and was the Number 1 source of pride for locals," Minoru Hasegawa told The Japan Times. The 69-year old actor is a fellow-native of Shimura's home city. Like Ken, he is proud of his roots and has brought pride to his people.
"I cannot think of anything now. I can no longer see Ken-chan. This is too sad," Naoko Ken, a famous Japanese singer, tweeted about Shimura's death.
Another Tokyo resident mourned of Shimura's passing. "He was our hero. I wish he could entertain us more," Toshio Takazawa said, recalling the times he would go to see the Drifters perform.
It was on March 20 when Ken Shimura was taken to the hospital after developing a fever and was diagnosed with pneumonia. On March 23, it was confirmed that he had contracted the coronavirus.
He was the first Japanese celebrity to come forward to announce his infection of the dreaded coronavirus. He was also the first to die of the coronavirus.
Shimura's Colorful Career
Shimura was known for his slapstick comedy and parodies, including the famous "Mustache dance." He also became popular for the song about Higashuimurayama, his home city in western Tokyo.
After finishing high school, Shimura joined the Drifters in 1974. This well-known Japanese comedy group became his family for a long time. They have been known to be one of Japan's well-known comedy troupes.
In fact, they opened for the Beatles when the popular band performed in Japan in 1966. The surviving members of the troupe were saddened by Shimura's death. They are still too overwhelmed by his passing that they could not put together a statement yet, their management has told The Japan Times.
"I am sure he was working hard with a sense of mission to deliver laughter to people," a representative from the agency managing Shimura said.
"I don't think he imagined he would die a death like this."
Japan's funnyman remained active until he died, starring in numerous television programs. He was supposed to begin filming for a new movie in April. He was also set to run the Olympic torch relay as a representative of Higashiurayama in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics if it were not postponed.
The Health Ministry of Japan has recorded 173 new cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, 68 of which are in Tokyo. According to CNN, this has been the biggest spike on a single day for the capital of Japan.