Takashi Okamura starred in one of the greatest Japanese ads Nintendo Co Ltd has ever created.
The ad appeared back in late 2005 and early 2006 as part of Nintendo's "Hot Mario" campaign. It starred Osaka comedians Okamura as Mario and his comedy partner Hiroyuki Yabe as Luigi.
While the vast majority of Japanese commercials that feature comedians "playing foreigners" end up insulting or, worse yet, unfunny, Okamura's rendition of an American trucker dude is brilliant. Let's not forget this smile too.
Besides appearing on a multitude of television programs, Okamura and Yabe continued to pitch Nintendo products. Both make up one of the most popular comedy duos in the country. That is, until Okamura left the business earlier this year.
He formally stated that he was leaving entertainment. First, he was going to step out for a short time, citing exhaustion. Now he is on indefinite leave. He has returned to his family home in Osaka - incidentally, where I used to live! - and there have been rumours circulating that it isn't merely exhaustion but rather cancer.
Whatever it is, here's hoping that he makes a full and speedy recovery. Japanese television isn't quite the same without him!