- Shinya Arino (有野 晋哉 Arino Shin'ya ) Born February 25, 1972 in Osaka. Plays the boke. Married in 2004 and has two children. Enjoys video games and anime. He has received significant popularity in Akihabara in recent years due to his show Game Center CX, in which he plays through retro games. Because of this, he finds himself being called Kachō (meaning "section chief," it is his official "position" in Game Center CX) more and more often.
- Masaru Hamaguchi (濱口 優 Hamaguchi Masaru ) Born January 29, 1972 in Konohana-ku, Osaka. Plays the tsukkomi. Enjoys online games.
The duo (kombi) was originally formed under the pretense of Shinya Arino as the boke (stooge) and Masaru Hamaguchi as the tsukkomi (straightman), but as time went on and Hamaguchi's "natural stupidness" started to shine through, the duo became known as "the duo with no real distinction between the boke and the tsukkomi".
Though Arino and Hamaguchi attended different schools in their junior high years, they met and became friends through the same juku. They then went to the same senior high school, and upon graduation, Arino became a cook at a hotel. He decided to join Hamaguchi to form a comedy duo when Hamaguchi told him, "If you enter the entertainment world, you'll have a chance at marrying Noriko Sakai." They went with Shōchiku instead of the more famed Yoshimoto because they believed the competition in Yoshimoto was too great and thought they had a better chance at success in Shōchiku.
Their combo name at first was Arino & Hamaguchi, then Namekuji, before settling with Yoiko. The name of the duo incorporates the hiragana "wi" character (ゐ) which has long been phased out of everyday use. While the character historically had a different pronunciation from the common "i" character (い), in modern use and for the many years leading up until it was phased out it was generally accepted that they were pronounced the same. Hence, while a kana transliteration of the combi name would be "Yowiko", a phonetic transliteration would be written "Yoiko".
Notes and references
- LINCOLN Episode #58, 2007-01-16.