Masashi Tashiro

Masashi Tashiro
Birth name Masashi Tashiro (田代政)
Also known as Marcy
Born August 31, 1956 (1956-08-31) (age 55)
Origin Karatsu, Saga
Genres Doo-wop
Occupations television personality, singer, actor, film director
Years active 1980–2001
Associated acts Rats & Star

Masashi Tashiro (田代 まさし Tashiro Masashi?, real name pronounced the same, but written as 田代 政) (born August 31, 1956) is a former Japanese television performer and the founding member of the band Rats & Star. Tashiro was a tenor vocalist for Rats & Star, and later on made himself a name as a TV entertainer in Japan. He also directed a movie after his band broke up.

His arrest for looking up a woman's skirt in September 2000 marked the beginning of Tashiro's problems with the law.


Early life

Masashi Tashiro was born in Saga Prefecture on August 31, 1956. His parents divorced soon after his birth when his father, a manager of a cabaret chain, ran away with another woman. He was then raised by his mother. In 1961, he and his mother moved to Tokyo and he was put through missionary kindergarten. In 1963, he entered Toyama elementary school in Shinjuku. His mother remarried in April 1969, when he was thirteen years old, at which time he entered Okubo junior high school. However, he decided to enroll in a higher grade at a private high school and live with his father in order not to rely financially on his mother's new husband.

In 1972, he entered Machine Studies at Shibaura Institute of Technology Senior High School after graduating from Nakase junior high school in March of the same year. It was here he met Masayuki Suzuki, with whom Tashiro later formed the band The Chanels. Tashiro as well as Suzuki were considered juvenile delinquents in those days.

He was allegedly involved in fights, motorcycle gang problems, going to party at a disco and going girl-hunting every day during his time at high school. He has been detained by the police because of assault. He met his present wife at the end of his first year at high school. (However, he and his wife are now separated because of his several scandals and imprisonment)

In March, 1975, he graduated from Shibaura Institute of Technology Senior High School. It was around this time he started driving. His first car was a Sunny. His subsequent cars were a Gloria, a Camaro, a Ford, a Prelude, and a Mercedes-Benz. It had grown into an obsession of his.

After graduating from Shibaura Institute of Technology Senior High School in March, 1975, centering Masayuki Suzuki, the Japanese doo-wop band The Chanels was formed with Tashiro, Nobuyoshi Kuwano and others in the same year. Suzuki was the lead singer, Kuwano was the trumpeter, and he sang baritone.

In June 1975, he ran away from home after getting into a big row with his father. Later, he was taken in by Chanels member Hiroyuki Kuboki and worked as a clerk for the same filling station. He had lived in the company's dormitory for two years. Afterwards, he became a trucker after he was hired by the president of a truck company, who came as a customer in Tashiro's filling station in 1978. Although he already formed the band, he allegedly kept on working as a trucker because he thought that "The entertainment world is scary".


The Chanels and Rats & Star

The single cover of "Niijima no Densetsu"

The Chanels were formed in 1975, and began performing as an amateur band in 1976. They were chosen as a No. 1 band on a Japanese television program called "Ginza Now" (ギンザNOW?) and won a prize in a music contest under the sponsorship of Yamaha.

Tashiro made his debut as a member of the group in 1980 and they came to be widely known for adopting rhythm and blues style. 4 members of the front singers including Tashiro wore blackface using shoe polish and they became famous and popular. Their first single, "Runaway" sold more than 1 million copies. Their May, 1981's single "Hurricane" was covered by Puffy AmiYumi in 2001. In 1983, the group changed its name to Rats & Star because of its similarity with the French brand Chanel.

After the band was practically dissolved in 1986 because the leader Suzuki launched a solo single "The Summer Disappeared Over the Glass" (ガラス越しに消えた夏 Garasu goshi ni kieta natsu?), Tashiro, also thanks to his appearances on TV music shows like "The Best Ten" (ザ・ベストテン) and his work as a lyricist for singer and actress Kyōko Koizumi, gained enough popularity in Japan that he released an LP, "The Legend of Niijima" (新島の伝説 Niijima no densetsu?) as a solo artist.

In March 1996, Rats & Star's members got together for six months and covered a member of band Happy End Eiichi Otaki's song "If I Could Meet You in a Dream" (夢で逢えたら Yume de Aetara?) in April of the same year. This song recorded a big hit. They also appeared in NHK's Kōhaku Uta Gassen at New Year's Eve of the year.


After Rats & Star broke up, his comedic talent was discovered by Ken Shimura, a member of Japanese comedic group The Drifters, and he became a television comedian. Here he gained the nicknames "King of pun" (ダジャレの帝王 Dajare no Teiō?) and "Genius of props" (小道具の天才 Kodōgu no Tensai?). On July 10, 1988, he opened a tarento shop, called "Marcy's" (マーシーズ) after his nickname, in Takeshita Street, Shibuya, Tokyo. He appeared in many television commercials, hosted in many television programs, wrote an autobiography and a book on puns, directed a movie and starred as the main character in the Famicom action game "Masashi Tashiro Has So Many Princesses" (田代まさしのプリンセスがいっぱい Tashiro Masashi no purinsesu ga ippai?), released in Japan on October 27, 1989.

This video game was not successful at the time it was published. However, after his later scandals and arrests, it started to fetch very high prices on Internet auctions like Yahoo!.

He also appeared as a film actor in a Shizuka Ijuin's original work film "Crêpe" in October, 1993. He co-starred with an actress Kaho Minami (Ken Watanabe's present wife).

Voyeurism incident

On September 24, 2000, he was sent to the prosecutor's office for filming up a woman's skirt with a camcorder in Tokyu Toyoko Line Toritsudaigaku Station in Meguro, Tokyo. When he was asked why he had done it at a news conference on October 4 of the same year, he claimed that he had been producing a comic film called "Mini ni tako ga dekiru" (ミニにタコができる?), a pun on the similar Japanese pronunciations for "mini" (ミニ?, , miniskirt) and "mimi" (?, , ear) and the two meanings of "tako" (callus and octopus) based on the Japanese saying "mimi ni tako ga dekiru" (耳にタコができる?, , literally "I have a callus in my ear [from hearing something so often]"). The "mini ni tako" remark became infamous in the Japanese news media.

In December 2000, he was fined 50,000 yen (about 430 USD) for the voyeurism.[1]

He was barred from working in the entertainment industry temporarily by his entertainment agency, MTM Productions, and his comment was "I wish miniskirts were obliterated from the Earth." While he was barred, he did volunteer work such as carrying the wash and serving meals in a nursing home 3 days a week. On June 28, 2001, he announced his return to the entertainment world by saying, "Please give Masashi Tashiro one more chance." (もう1度だけ田代まさしを、よろしくお願い致します?)

In July 2001 he appeared as a guest on television programs such as "Downtown DX," "Guruguru Ninety-Nine" (ぐるぐるナインティナイン?) and "Mecha-Mecha Iketeru!" (めちゃ2イケてるッ!?). He also returned as part of the regular cast in "Shimura Ken no Bakatono-sama" (志村けんのバカ殿様?). In order to become a regular in another program, "HAMADA COMPANY Dangan! Heroes" (HAMADA COMPANY 弾丸!ヒーローズ?), he was challenged to travel from Tokyo to Okinawa without being discovered by anyone. He lost the contest when he was found out in Kyoto and 100 pictures of him were taken, but the public liked his stunt and his popularity soared back.

First trial for drug use

On December 9, 2001, he was arrested for peeping through the bathroom window of a man's house near his home in Kita-senzoku, Ōta, Tokyo by Den-en-chōfu police.[2] According to the police station, the 32-year-old man he was spying on spotted Tashiro and ran after him for 300 meters wearing only a bath towel around his waist, eventually catching him and delivering him to the station. An eyewitness of this told that Tashiro put on a cap like a ski cap, spoke loudly "Forgive me" (許してくれ yurushitekure?), "It was a misunderstanding" (勘違いだ kanchigai da?) when he was caught and there was a camcorder in the vicinity of the scene recording. He was once released on bail without punishment.[3]

However, he was rearrested for possession and use of amphetamine on December 12, 2001.[4] The seven police detectives carried out a home search in Tashiro's house as a corroborative investigation into his Peeping Tom incident and discovered a bag containing 0.4 ~ 0.9g of speed. Tashiro stated that "I bought it" but how he used it was unknown because a syringe used to inject drugs was not discovered in the home search. He was detained as a suspect by the police station from aftermath of his arrest until February 1 of the next year. As a result, he was dismissed by MTM Production on the same day because of repeated scandals.

On December 28, 2001, he was prosecuted for the violation of Stimulant Drugs Control Law.[1] He testified about it that "I used drugs to get rid of stress and tension before appearing on a TV program" for the investigation by Tokyo District Prosecution Office. He also talked that "I lived confined to the house and I began to worry. From about this April, I used it once every few days". According to an indictment, he warmed amphetamine over a fire and absorbed it in his home's video room.

His first trial for drug use and others was in Tokyo District Court on February 1, 2002. Judgement was given on the case in the same court on February 8, 2002, where he was found guilty. However, he was given 3 years suspended sentence of 2 years imprisonment.[4]

In spring 2002, he returned to the entertainment world as director of V-Cinema series such as "The Way of the Whales" (鯨道 kujira-michi?).

In 2003 he made a recorded guest appearance in TBS's "Sunday Japon" (サンデージャポン sandē japon?) on New Year's Eve. This is his last public appearance in a television program to date.

Car accident

There was a rumor that Tashiro would be coming back to the public screens in spring 2004. However, he once again found himself in legal trouble for causing a car accident on the Ōme road in Suginami. According to news reports, at about 1 AM on June 16, 2004, he crashed into a 18-year-old vocational school student on a motorcycle after making an illegal U-turn.[5] The victim had his left thigh broken and suffered an injury that would take 2 weeks to heal completely.

Second trial for drug use

After 10 p.m. of September 20, 2004, he was arrested for violation of the Firearms and Swords Control Law in a street in Nakano because he had a butterfly knife with a blade 8 centimeters long.[6] He shared his car on the street with a woman of an acquaintance then and the police questioned them. After the investigation, it was also found out that he had about 2g of amphetamines and about 4g of marijuana in a rucksack. As a result, he was once again arrested for it on the evening of the next day because a woman with him said "This rucksack is his" and he admitted it, too. After this incident, former Rats & Star member Masayuki Suzuki apologized for Tashiro's crimes in his place.[7] Tashiro stated that the pressure of stardom contributed to his addiction to drugs.

Following this arrest, Tashiro was harshly criticized by many of his former co-workers, who said:

I want him to disappear from the entertainment world because what he did was despicable

Cha Katou, Ken Shimura, Masayuki Suzuki, Nobuyoshi Kuwano

The damned fool! I'd like to slap him!

Kenichi Mikawa[8]

I don't want to be associated with such a man.

Takeshi Kitano

Tashiro giving an interview in Tokyo Shimbun article on May 23, 2009. He told that the prison life was like hell.

He was virtually retired from the entertainment world and was treated like he never existed. From here on, the media would refer to him as the "former entertainer", and all the recordings and pictures taken when he was a Chanels/Rats & Star member were almost never broadcast anymore, and if they were, Tashiro's voice would be lowered to a hush or removed entirely, and no part of his body would show. Newspapers and magazines tacitly agreed not to talk about him at all. In an episode of a comedic duo Bakusho Mondai (爆笑問題 Bakushō Mondai?), host Hikari Ota accidentally said his full name. In The God of Entertainment (エンタの神様 enta no kami-sama?), Sayaka Aoki, while displaying only part of his name, said "I put a camera in the chest drawer", which caused a general laugh. On the other hand, the part of Ken Shimura's commemorative speech held for the release of his program on DVD where he said "Have you disappeared like Takafumi Horie when you were knocked-out? I wanted to release this five years ago" was not broadcast.

He was arrested for possession of amphetamines on September 21, 2004. On February 7, 2005, he was sentenced to 3 years and 6 months imprisonment.[9] On June 26, 2008, he was released from the prison.[10][11]

Cocaine incident

Tashiro after his arrest on September 16, 2010

On September 16, 2010, he was arrested along with a 50 year-old woman in a parking lot in Red Brick Park in Yokohama, Japan for possession of cocaine. According to police he was in possession of two bags of cocaine, and admitted "It is for my own use".[12] When the police guarded against Yokohama because of APEC Japan 2010, he and a 50 year-old woman were arrested. Tashiro said he bought cocaine from a DJ.[13][14][15][16]

Yokohama District Public Prosecutors' Office indicted him on October 6, 2010.[17]

Other suspicions of illegal video recording

Tashiro once hosted a combative sport program, Fuji Television's SRS, with actress Norika Fujiwara. It was later found out that he was warned many times by the staff, who became irritated with his habit of sneaking into the ladies' bathroom (possibly with camera equipment) and not emerging again for hours afterwards.

Additionally, it was revealed that Fujiwara and other female television stars changed their clothes in the ladies' toilet during the time Tashiro was hiding inside. The staff associated with the show were suspicious that Tashiro did set up a small, transmitting camera in the toilet room.[18]


Tashiro on the cover of his book, Jibaku

In July 2002 he published a book, "Self-destruction -The Judgement Day-" (自爆 -The Judgement Day- Jibaku -The Judgement Day-?), in which he talks about the scandal, his family, life in jail and his comeback to the entertainment world. He confessed to using amphetamines in the book, stating that his first drug use was in Hawaii in April 1998. However, he contradicted this statement when he said that "I used amphetamines and marijuana first in Hawaii in May, 1991" in a second trial on December 17, 2004. He also said that his first amphetamine use in Japan was in April, 2001.

"Person of the Year"

In 2001, users of internet forum 2channel voted en-masse Tashiro as Time Magazine's Person of the Year. This act was soon dubbed the "Tashiro Festival" (Tashiro Matsuri, 田代祭) by 2ch users. 2channel programmers developed many scripts such as "Tashiro Cannon" (Tashiro-hō, 田代砲), "Mega particle Tashiro Cannon" (Mega-ryūshi Tashiro-hō, メガ粒子田代砲), "25 repeated blows Tashiro Cannon" (Nijū-go renda Tashiro-hō, 25連打田代砲) "Super Tashiro Cannon" (Chō Tashiro-hō, 超田代砲) to be able to vote repeatedly. "Super Tashiro cannon" was so powerful that it crashed Time's server. Afterwards, "Satellite Cannon -Tashiro-" was developed, but it was not deployed. Due to the votes of 2channel users, he got to the No. 1 position temporarily on December 21, 2001. However, Time's staff realized that something was unusual, and Tashiro was removed as a candidate.[19]

Past main programs



Musical works

See Rats & Star for works as Chanels and Rats & Star.


See also

Members of Rats & Star era


  1. ^ a b "TV comedian indicted over drug use". The Japan Times. 2001-12-29. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
  2. ^ (Japanese) "田代まさし容疑者、ふろ場のぞいたとして逮捕". Yomiuri Shimbun. 2001-12-10. Archived from the original on 2001-12-17. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
  3. ^ (Japanese) "自宅から覚せい剤、のぞきの田代まさし容疑者を再逮捕". Asahi Shimbun. 2001-12-11. Archived from the original on 2001-12-12. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
  4. ^ a b "Comedian avoids prison time for drug use". The Japan Times. 2002-02-19. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
  5. ^ "田代まさしさんが人身事故 禁止場所でUターン、衝突" (in Japanese). Asahi Shimbun. 2004-06-17. Archived from the original on 2004-06-19. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
  6. ^ "田代まさし容疑者を逮捕=リュックに覚せい剤、大麻-警視庁" (in Japanese). Yahoo! Japan. 2004-09-21. Archived from the original on 2004-09-25. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
  7. ^ "田代まさし逮捕、車に同乗女は覚せい剤&大麻" (in Japanese). Zakzak. 2004-09-21. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
  8. ^ "美川憲一、号泣…体験思い出し田代まさしを厳しく叱責" (in Japanese). Sankei Sports. 2004-09-23. Archived from the original on 2004-09-25. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
  9. ^ "田代まさし被告に懲役3年6カ月の実刑判決 東京地裁" (in Japanese). Asahi Shimbun. 2005-02-07. Archived from the original on 2005-02-09. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
  10. ^ "マーシー:出所 3年半の獄中生活を語る" (in Japanese). Mainichi Shimbun. 2008-07-08. Retrieved 2008-07-15. [dead link]
  11. ^ "田代まさしさん出所していた!雑誌で独占告白も" (in Japanese). Sankei Shimbun. 2008-07-08. Archived from the original on 2008-07-13. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
  12. ^ in Japanese: (自分で使うために持っていた)髪薄く、頬こけげっそり…逮捕の田代まさし容疑者(Japanese)
  13. ^ Celebrity Masashi Tashiro arrested for cocaine possession
  14. ^ Entertainer Tashiro arrested over cocaine possession
  15. ^ Singer Tashiro arrested again over narcotics
  16. ^ Tashiro Masashi Has Blown It Again
  17. ^ Entertainer Tashiro Indicted Over Cocaine
  18. ^ 藤原紀香:カルト事件簿 (Japanese)
  19. ^ 2-Channel Gives Japan's Famously Quiet People a Mighty Voice

External links

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