Hitoshi Matsumoto

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Hitoshi Matsumoto
Hitoshi Matsumoto.jpg
Born (1963-09-08) September 8, 1963 (age 54)
Amagasaki, Japan
Medium Owarai
Nationality Japanese
Years active 1983 – Present
Genres Owarai
Children 1

Hitoshi Matsumoto (松本 人志, Matsumoto Hitoshi, born September 8, 1963), or Mat-chan (松ちゃん) as he is commonly known, is a Japanese comedian best known as the boke half of the popular owarai duo Downtown alongside Masatoshi Hamada. Like Hamada, Matsumoto was born and raised in Amagasaki, just outside Osaka city and prefecture and technically in Hyōgo Prefecture, though he usually refers to himself as an Osakan.[1]

He directed, produced, and starred in the 2007 movie Big Man Japan, which was shown at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival in the Directors' Fortnight section.

Early life[edit]

Matsumoto was born in Amagasaki, Hyōgo, to a poor family. He has one older sister and one older brother, Takahiro Matsumoto (松本 隆博, Matsumoto Takahiro), an established folk guitarist who released an autobiographical book titled "Matsumoto's Older Brother" (松本の兄, Matsumoto no Ani).[2] He has expressed his feelings about growing up in a poor household in a poem titled Chicken Rice (チキンライス, Chikin Raisu) which Hamada turned into a song in 2004.[3] In his poem, he wrote how laughter was the only way to get through those times.[4] He credits his poverty for giving him a good imagination and sense of play, as it forced him to invent his own games to entertain himself.

His favourite manga as a child was Tensai Bakabon by Fujio Akatsuka. He aspired to become a manga artist.

He attended Ushio Elementary School, where he met Masatoshi Hamada. He graduated from Amagasaki Technical High School in 1982. Although he secured a job at a printing office, to pursue his dream of becoming a comedian, he was invited by Hamada in 1982 to enter Yoshimoto Kōgyō. Together, they became Downtown, and made their major debut in 1983.

Personal life[edit]


Matsumoto remained single with no history of marriage for years after his comedy partner, Hamada, was married with children. He stated that he was not into romance, finding acts such as sharing a bed or bathing with someone else bothersome and unnecessary.[5] He mentioned his dislike for children and said that if he married and had children, he would end up seeing them as rivals for his wife's attention.[6] He preferred dogs as companions.[7]

It was revealed in July 2008 that Matsumoto was dating then 25-year-old tarento Ihara Rin.[8] In the evening of May 17, 2009, it was announced that Matsumoto's official bachelorhood had ended with a secret marriage ceremony between himself and the aforementioned Ihara.[9] Ihara, a former weather announcer for the Japanese news program "ズームイン!! Super" (Zoom In!! Super) is nineteen years Matsumoto's junior, and apparently became pregnant by Matsumoto, prompting the marriage.[9] The announcement of the marriage came via fax by Matsumoto's managing organization to several media outlets, including a personal message by Matsumoto himself: "My partner will become an average citizen [i.e. not an entertainer] and is currently pregnant. As this is a delicate time, I would like this to be dealt with as gently as possible. It would be best to hold a press conference, however this situation is awkward and I will refrain from doing so."[9] The original faxed announcement did not contain details on Matsumoto's wife; however it has become widely known that his new partner is Ihara.[9]

On October 6, 2009, Matsumoto and Ihara Rin became parents to a daughter. At the time, Matsumoto was in South Korea for the screening of the film "Symbol."[10]


Matsumoto's hobbies include driving, billiards, and video games. He has played billiards against numerous musicians on the Downtown hosted music show, Hey! Hey! Hey! Music Champ, such as Gackt. His favorite video game is Tetris and says his nickname is "The Tetrist" (テトリスト).[11] He jokes he can play Tetris until the corners of the blocks wear out and become rounded.[12] However, in his televised Tetris battles with both Utada Hikaru (on Music Champ) and Shinya Arino of Yoiko (on LINCOLN),[12] he showed mediocre skills and lost.

As an admirer of Vincent van Gogh, he has gone to Amsterdam to visit The Van Gogh Museum. These trips were filmed for The True Hitoshi Matsumoto (松本人志の本当, Matsumoto Hitoshi no Hontō), a special NHK BS documentary series.[13] Another figure he respects is the late comedian, Kanbi Fujiyama.[14]

He enjoys tokusatsu shows and owns DVD box sets of series such as Kamen Rider and Giant Robo. He has parodied tokusatsu a number of times on his previous show, Downtown no Gottsu Ee Kanji (with characters such as the Go-Renjai, Miracle Ace and Aho Aho Man), and in his directorial film debut, Dainipponjin.


He has demonstrated good physical fitness on Gaki no Tsukai. He defeated his comedy partner Hamada in a high jump competition by clearing 1.40m on the first try.[15] In 1999, he outran Hamada, Hōsei Yamasaki and both members of Cocorico in a 100-meter race (he ran the entire length while the other four ran a quarter of the length each in the form of a relay race).[16] Three years later, he performed notably better than them in a long jump competition.[17]

Although he claims to have no interest in sports,[18] he has occasionally dabbled in boxing as he is friends with former world boxing champion Joichiro Tatsuyoshi.

Once a heavy cigarette smoker, he quit in 2003.

On June 28, 2010, Yoshimoto Kogyo announced that Matsumoto would not be performing on any shows for two months due to an injury on his left hip, which required surgery.[19] For two episodes, the remaining Gaki no Tsukai cast members discussed his condition,[20][21] with Matsumoto returning to hosting on August 31, 2010.[22] In subsequent segments of the show requiring rigorous physical activities, such as the annual New Year's Eve 24-Hour Batsu Games of recent years, he is exempted and instead given idle or captive roles, in spite of the injuries.

During the 2012 Gaki no Tsukai batsu game involving the group becoming airline assistants, Matsumoto revealed he had suffered a stress fracture preparing for said batsu game, and despite doctor's orders, he still participated in the batsu game.


Matsumoto often appears on television wearing a suit and tie, with the tie tucked in his pants as a personal touch. When not wearing a suit, he opts for denim pants and a plain white T-shirt. He dislikes wearing clothing with words on them – he believes entertainers, who express themselves through body language, should not be displaying someone else's "meaningless" words on their bodies.[23] Incidentally, his comedy partner Hamada always appears on television in casual brand name clothing, often with a graphic print or logo T-shirt. He has since softened from this stance and will wear colors and patterns on occasion.


Matsumoto is a self-proclaimed hyōi-geinin (憑依芸人).[24] Hyōi means "spiritual possession," and geinin means "entertainer." This term is said to have been invented by Matsumoto, and it refers to entertainers who can take on a personality completely different from their own when on stage or in front of a camera. Hyōi-geinin tend to be shy and uncomfortable with revealing their true character and find it hard to perform without hiding behind an outrageous personality or appearance. As such, the often silly and oafish Matsumoto is said to be more mild-mannered and serious off screen.

Other terms that are said to be (but not confirmed to be) popularized by Matsumoto:

  • samui or sabui (寒い, サブい) Literally meaning "cold," it refers to anything corny and unfunny.
  • BLUE ni naru (ブルーになる) To become "blue" (sad).
  • gyaku-gire (逆ギレ) When one becomes angry as a response to someone who is angry at them.[25]

It is also claimed by some that he has popularized the act of labeling someone as "an S" (sadist) or "an M" (masochist). He considers himself an M, while his comedy partner, Hamada, is an S.[26]

List of works[edit]


Comic shorts:

  • Tōzu (頭頭) (1993)
  • Sundome Kaikyō (寸止め海峡) (1995)
  • Visualbum Vol. Apple – Promise (ビジュアルバム Vol. リンゴ – 約束) (1998)
  • Visualbum Vol. Banana – Kindness (ビジュアルバム Vol. バナナ – 親切) (1998)
  • Visualbum Vol. Grape – Relief (ビジュアルバム Vol. ブドウ – 安心) (1999)
  • Sasuke (佐助) (2001)
  • Zassā (ザッサー) (2006)

Full-length movies:

Television and radio[edit]

  • Hitori gottsu (一人ごっつ) (1996–1997)
  • Densetsu no kyōshi (伝説の教師) (2000)
  • Ashita ga aru sa (明日があるさ) (2001)
  • Hōsō-shitsu (放送室) (Since 2001)
  • Hitoshi Matsumoto no suberanai hanashi (人志松本のすべらない話) (Since 2004)
  • Matsumoto Hitoshi no Konto (MHK) (松本一志のコント) (2010)


External links[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Matsumoto, Hitoshi (1995). Matsumoto. Tōkyō: Asahi Shinbunsha. p. 45. ISBN 4-02-256898-4. 
  2. ^ Matsumoto, Takahiro (1997). Matsumoto no Ani. Akita, Japan: Akita Shoten. ISBN 978-4-253-10255-1.
  3. ^ Neowing info on the "Chicken Rice" single. Neowing.co.jp, 2004-11-17. Retrieved on 2008-1-10.
  4. ^ Lyrics to "Chicken Rice." 2004-12-02. Retrieved on 2008-1-10.
  5. ^ LINCOLN Episode #5 aired on 2005-12-13.
  6. ^ LINCOLN Episode #5 aired on 2005-12-13. Matsumoto: "I don't like children one bit."
  7. ^ Downtown Seven, TBS. Matsumoto: "I love dogs so much, I want to put mayonnaise on them and eat them."
  8. ^ Japan Zone: Romantic Roundup (2008-07-08). Retrieved on 2008-07-16.
  9. ^ a b c d 松ちゃん電撃デキ婚!元お天気お姉さんと (2009-05-18). Retrieved on 2009-05-18.
  10. ^ http://www.tokyograph.com/news/id-5349
  11. ^ Video clip of Matsumoto playing Tetris against Utada Hikaru. Youtube.com, 2006-12-30. Retrieved on 2008-1-10.
  12. ^ a b LINCOLN Episode #53 aired on 2007-01-16.
  13. ^ NHK BS's Matsumoto Hitoshi no Hontō, first aired on 1999-1-29.
  14. ^ Matsumoto, Hitoshi (1995). Matsumoto. Osaka, Japan: The Asahi Shimbun Company. p 22. "I still watch videos of his acts to this day, and no matter how many times I watch them, I never tire of them."
  15. ^ Downtown no Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!! Episode aired on 1993-07-11.
  16. ^ Downtown no Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!! Episode aired on 1999-10-17.
  17. ^ Downtown no Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!! Episode aired on 2002-05-05.
  18. ^ LINCOLN Episode #38 aired on 2006-09-12.
  19. ^ http://www.sponichi.co.jp/entertainment/news/2010/06/27/03.html
  20. ^ Downtown no Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!! Episode aired on 2010-7-04.
  21. ^ Downtown no Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!! Episode aired on 2010-8-01
  22. ^ LINCOLN Episode aired on 2010-8-31
  23. ^ Matsumoto, Hitoshi (2003). Hōsōshitsu. Tokyo FM radio. "I never wear clothing with words on them. Never. I barely own any with even a mark on them. [...] Why do entertainers wear messages on their chests that someone else wrote? This angers me greatly. Our bodies, the words expressed through our bodies – that's our message. Don't put meaningless words on your bodies."
  24. ^ Matsumoto's profile on a geinin site. wahahaha.info. Retrieved on 2008-1-10.
  25. ^ 2chan thread discussing the origin of "gyaku-gire." 2ch.net, 2002-01-18. Retrieved on 2008-01-10.
  26. ^ Downtown fanblog explaining S and M. downtown55.exblog.jp, 2006-08-03. Retrieved on 2008-01-10.