The Yomiuri ShimbunOSAKA — When a group of police officers appeared in a public event in May, they put on a short skit aimed to warn in a funny and entertaining way about fraud, with the group leader tapping the speech skills he had developed while performing as a professional comedian with major entertainment company Yoshimoto Kogyo Co.
The group leader, Daisuke Takamichi, worked as a member of a comic duo until four years ago. He formed a “theater company” in April with six officers at the Kuroyama Police Station in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture.
The event was held in part for the elderly to help them be more on guard against so-called special fraud cases. The short skit was designed to help them understand how perpetrators can swindle victims mainly over the telephone.
When the theater company — dubbed Kuroyama Gekidan — had its stage debut on May 20 in Osakasayama in the prefecture, the 29-year-old leader played the role of a perpetrator trying to swindle money out of an old woman over the phone by saying she was entitled to a refund for some medical fees.
“I’m Yamada from the Kuroyama city office,” said Takamichi in the role of the perpetrator. “Actually, you’ve overpaid your medical bills.”
The play featured many gags based on ideas from Takamichi. For example, the perpetrator, believing he was calling a woman, was upset to realize “It’s an old guy!” when he hears a rough voice answer him, while his fellow perpetrator is bad at numbers.
Takamichi’s career as a comedian dates back to 2009 when he was a university senior who entered New Star Creation, a training school for entertainment personalities run by Yoshimoto Kogyo, with a classmate at a high school. The two formed the comic duo “Nakahari Matahari,” offering performances mainly at the company’s facilities.
Takamichi, who served as the pair’s straight man, soon got more appearances on TV and radio programs, due partly to his 1.86-meter height and experience as a model.
His turning point came in June 2013.
One night near the Dotonbori entertainment district in the city of Osaka, Takamichi found a man howling with rage at a woman. He intervened, and the man repeatedly punched him before Takamichi could escape.
“It was so frustrating,” Takamichi said. “I couldn’t tolerate someone assaulting another person, but I also realized I couldn’t do anything because I was just a comedian.”
He then decided to become a police officer.
After talking with his partner and other related people, Takamichi broke up the duo at the end of that year, ending his showbiz career.
While studying to take the police employment exam, he tried to build up his strength through running. He applied for a special recruitment plan by the prefectural police that encourages those with outstanding expertise in other fields to recommend themselves for the screening.
Takamichi was employed in 2015 and assigned to the Kuroyama Police Station, which has handled 18 special fraud cases since this January, with ¥24.22 million having been stolen.
“Now that we have Takamichi, why not form a theater company to enlighten local residents?” said the chief of the police station. This prompted Takamichi to recruit six officers on his own to establish the theater company. The members practice the routines after work.