You probably know him better as "Razor Ramon HG" or simply "Hard Gay". Gay, he's not.
Japanese comedy is populated by one-hit wonders, comedians who come up with gags or catch sayings (or even songs) that stick in people's heads. They're one-trick ponies, and just as soon as the capture everyone's imagination, they disappear.
Hard Gay might've been hard, but he wasn't gay. Sumitani did hang out in Osaka's gay district, where he purchased his costume, but rumours quickly circulated that comedian, who recently fathered his second child, that it was all an act.
These rumours were apparently verified when a tabloid showed him out on a date with bikini model Anna Suzuki. While Hard Gay's antics earned him fans and fame, gays in Japan were less amused, pointing out that he was stereotyping and reducing gays to goofy gags for plunder and profit. Sumitani even released a reworking of "Y.M.C.A."
Even though some found his comedy offensive, Sumitani's best bits relied on how inappropriate he was or how uncomfortable he could make people—both comedy hallmarks.
By 2006, his act was starting to wear thin—Japanese audiences are quick to tire. By that spring he'd married that bikini model. As television appearances dwindled, Sumitani focused more on pro-wrestling, which he continued to do until he shattered his foot in a wrestling match.
Sumitani is attempting to make a comeback, saying that he isn't a one-hit wonder but a two-hit wonder. As he recovered from his wrestling injury, his bikini model wife continued to work and support the family. But Sumitani is slowly getting more work, such as this promotion clip for The Devil's Third, the upcoming game from Dead or Alive creator Tomonobu Itagaki. The clip shows some footage of the game as well as dancing girls.
Think they got Sumitani on the cheap? Fooohhh sure.
Culture Smash is a daily dose of things topical, interesting and sometimes even awesome—game related and beyond. (Top photo: レイザーラモンHG | PR)