Shigeru Araki wake report

The wake for actor Shigeru Araki (63), who died April 14 from pneumonia,  was held on April 17 in a funeral hall in Tokyo.  He was known for his role in Kamen Rider Sronger, among others.  He was the drummer for his college rock band Four Saints, and it was revealed that he was had a great desire to fully reform the group.

The other band members shared memories of Araki at the wake.  Four Saints was reformed in 2008, but Araki was unable to participate fully in its activities.  According to their manager, “In the last month or two he had started saying, ‘Let’s get together one more time.'”

Tohru Uehara, the band’s leader, had visited Araki only two days before he died.  When Uehara had said, “Let’s get back together one more time,” Araki had heartily agreed.  The band’s bass player, Masahiro Shiga, recalled, “We weren’t good-looking, so we invited Araki to join us.  He was a real Showa hottie, but his drumming needed a bit of work.”

Four Saints’s song “Chiisana Nikki” (“Tiny Diary”) played in the funeral hall.  Araki’s daughter Masami (18) and wife Noriko (58) chose it.  Araki bore a gentle expression inside a casket adorned with over 1000 flowers.  Noriko said, “Even when times were hard and he couldn’t find work, our home was always cheerful.”  Araki’s memorial photo was Masami’s favorite, taken when he was in his fifties.  Other memorable photos, as well as the kimono cord he had worn when he ran for Meguro ward assemblyman, were also displayed.  Including family, friends, and fans, over 500 people attended the wake.

Araki’s Kamen Rider friends also came to say goodbye.  Takeshi Sasaki (64), who played Hayato Ichimonji/Kamen Rider #2, recalled, “Lately we’d seen each other a lot at Rider events.  He had said, ‘Let’s do something together.'”  Shunsuke Takasugi (62), who played Kazuya Oki/Kamen Rider Super-1, said, “We had wanted to get everybody together, starting with Hiroshi Fujioka.”

Araki’s costar in the TV-Asahi drama Tokusou Saizensen, and the one who made the announcement that Araki would run for Meguro ward assemblyman and supported him during his candidacy, Diet member Katsuhiko Yokomitsu (Democratic Party of Japan) also attended the service.  “We would go drinking together a lot.  He was good-looking, so he was popular with the ladies no matter where we went.  He was a friendly person who would show his true feelings.”  Actress Mayumi Asaka (56), who appeared with Araki in Abarenbo Shogun for four years, recalled, “We were together so much over those four years that he was like an older brother to me.”

Source: Sports Houchi

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