Veteran comic (喜劇の) Ken Shimura (志村けん) has become the first Japanese celebrity to die of the coronavirus (March 29, 2020). He has died of complications (合併症、複雑、厄介、面倒) caused by the novel (目新しい) coronavirus at the age of 70, sending shock waves (衝撃波) through a nation (国家、国民) bracing (引き締める、踏ん張る、緊張させる、奮起する) for an explosive surge (動揺、大波) in rapidly expanding (急速に拡大する) infections (感染症). Only close family members are expected to attend his funeral.
In 1968, just before graduating from a high school, he became an assistant of the Drifters (ザ・ドリフターズ)‘s leader Chosuke Ikariya (いかりや長介) and joined the comedy band in 1974. The Drifters were already kings of Japanese television for their highly-rated variety show “Hachijidayo Zeninshugo!” (“It’s 8 O’clock, Let’s Get Together Everybody!”). He and the other members gave the nation a bellyful (腹いっぱい、たくさんのもの) of laughs through the long-running comedy and music show.
Dominating (支配して) the television comedy scene in the 1970s and 1980s, one of his best-known acts was a feudal lord (殿様、藩主) with a face painted white with thick black eyebrows. He was a fixture (居ついている人、定着物) on Japanese television for decades (数十年). Throughout his career, he regularly appeared on television. He’s been described as “Japan’s Robin Williams”.
He entered a Tokyo hospital on March 20 with fever and pneumonia (肺炎) and tested positive for Covid-19 on March 23. He is the first prominent (卓越した、傑出した、有名な) Japanese entertainment world figure to die of the virus…