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|Native name||Naintinain (ナインティナイン)|
(formed in Osaka)
Ninety-nine (ナインティナイン Naintinain), or Nainai (ナイナイ) is a Japanese comic duo from Osaka working for the entertainment conglomerate Yoshimoto Kogyo. The duo (kombi), consisting of Takashi Okamura as boke (stooge) and Hiroyuki Yabe as tsukkomi (straightman), formed in 1990.
The pair met in high school, where they were both involved in the soccer club. Okamura had been receiving guidance from Yabe's brother Yoshiyuki Yabe and throughout their high school life they had a senpai and kōhai relationship. As he was Yoshiyuki's younger brother, his soccer club peers referred to him as "Yabe Juni[or]". Upon graduating high school, Okamura entered Ritsumeikan University and studied there for one year. Yabe, who was significantly less able academically, was unable to get into any universities and as a result invited Okamura to join Yoshimoto with him as a duo. The pair have stated that one of the reasons that drove them to this decision was their combined admiration for Yabe's brother Yoshiyuki, who had entered Yoshimoto two years before and formed the comedic duo "Channels". However, Yoshiyuki was allegedly opposed to the idea at that time, advising the pair on the harsh realities of a life as an entertainer.
Their act is typical of manzai comedy duos, though they are also known for TV segments filmed in locales such as Hong Kong and Italy. Yabe has tended to receive criticism from Japanese fans because his participation in their skits is small and out of proportion compared to the always active and effervescent Okamura, even as a straightman.
Currently, they host Mecha-Mecha Iketeru!, a Japanese comedy show, and they have also hosted a number of television programs in the past. They also hosted a weekly radio program for All Night Nippon on Fridays as a duo, but since 2015 Okamura hosts this program alone.
- All night Nippon web page Ninety-nine's weekly radio program (in Japanese)
- All night Nippon web page Okamura's weekly radio program (in Japanese)
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