by Chris MaGee
There have been hundreds of variety shows on Japanese TV, but one of the longest running was Nippon TV's "The Best Tonight!" Hosted by the sunglass-wearing Tamori it ran every Saturday night at 11:00 for half an hour between 1981 and 1989. With comedic skits, panel discussions and musical numbers featuring some of the biggest Japanese entertainers we Westerners might think of it as a kind of hybrid of "The Tonight Show" and "Saturday Night Live"; and like the latter it had it's own version of "Live from New York, It's Saturday Night!" only in this case it came in the form of Tamori asking his guests "Oh, by the way, how are you feeling tonight?" to which they would answer "こんやはさいこう! (What a fantastic night!)" Now someone on YouTube has edited together all those "What a fantastic nights!" and let me just say that there are some truly legendery actors and performers in this video. To name but a few: Takeshi Kitano, Jo Shishido, Yoshio Harada, Kenji Sawada, Akira Kobayashi, Hiroki Matsukata, Toshiro Mifune, Seijun Suzuki, Ken Uehara, Akihiro Miwa, etc., etc., etc. Frankly I'm a bit foggy as to who everyone in is in this 3-minute roll call, so if you pick up on other notable personalities leave a note in the comments.