Friday, July 15, 2011

Where Has Hard Gay Gone?

Yes. That is the question on many minds. 
"Where HAS Hard Gay gone?"
Some say that he disappeared into the jungles of the Amazon and has since been living among a remote cannibalistic tribe of tree-dwelling people. Others state that he has merely been held captive by the Yakuza for unfulfilled sexual promises. His own mother claims that Ricky Martin had him kidnapped out of fear that HG's pelvic thrusts were become more well known than his own. Rumors have been heard on our own west coast that D-list celebrity Andy Dick has merely chained him to a wall in his basement, using him as a weekend attraction for friends. Others say he was eaten by a giant squid while trying to swim to Okinawa for a holiday retreat. A small gang in Tokyo affiliated with the Sumiyoshi-kai crime syndicate swear they saw him abducted by a pack of faeries. However reports have not yet been able to confirm what type of faeries.
But before I get into all the theoretical and somewhat mysterious accusations as to his whereabouts let's rewind and fill in those few who have yet to be touched by the power and love of Hard Gay.
 Hard Gay, aka Razor Ramon HG, was introduced in 2002 and finally rose to national prominence in 2005.
Born, Masaki Sumitani, Razor Ramon HG began his career as a professional wrestler under his performing name "GiveUp Sumitani," with the Doshisha Professional Wrestling Alliance (DWA) he won the heavy class Kyoto pro-wrestling championship.
He finally rose to national prominence in 2005. His face could be seen on billboards, buses, magazines and t.v. as well as other entertainment outlets. His shining moment had finally come. His ever growing popularity gained serious momentum when he became a weekly feature on Bakusho Mondai no Bukuten! (Daibakuten), a comedic variety show which airs on one of the Tokyo Broadcasting System's more popular channels in Japan.
Dressed in a tight black fetish outfit, with a sexy vest, a pair of short black hot pants as well as his sunglasses and black leather cap which are a permanent fixture on his head. His outfit brings to mind the Village People, but gives off a much different kind of appeal, the stuff legends are made of! For his spots on Daibakuten he would hit the streets of Japan helping people out all the while trying to be as flamingly gay as possible, something he refers to as "Social Improvements". Wildly thrusting his hips to Ricky Martin's "Livin' La Vida Loca" and screaming his trademark "Hooooooo!", he tackles social problems such as littering, foreign relations, pedestrian safety, family values and general superhero work such as helping delivery drivers unload their trucks, pumping gas, and stopping Yakuza members from harassing young females.
He is seriously my hero!
Here are a few of his fantastic segments on Bakuten...

 The name Hard Gay itself is actually a pun on the word geinin which means actor or performer. The "gei" part of geinin is how Japanese people pronounce/spell the English word gay. Hard Gay himself uses these types of puns occasionally during his pieces, one prominent example is during the Father's Day episode  he asks a kid to call home using his "Hard Gay-tai", meaning his "Hard Cellphone". The word for cellphone is keitai, and HG just voiced the 'k' sound turning it into a 'g' to make the pun.
 Hard Gay makes regular use of a number of catch phrases in his act; he usually makes his entrance in front of the camera shouting "Dōmō Haadogei desu" ("Hello, this is Hard Gay"), with arms thrust out and a spin afterwards. His self-introduction is then followed by his famous dance moves. He often shouts "Hoooooo" or "Foohhhh!", a running joke in his performances. He frequently stops people saying unfavorable things to him by shouting "Sei sei sei sei sei" with his palm in front of the person’s face. Whether this means anything is debatable, although Sumitani has commented that "sei sei" is something that comes out from his mouth when he is not happy, and that he does not mean "say" as in to speak something, although one might compare this action to the popular "talk to the hand" gesture. A possible interpretation might be that the origin lies in the word urusai (lit. "noisy," meaning "Be quiet!"), which is often pronounced urusē in Kansai dialect shortened to sei. Another theory is the word sei written by kanji, meaning "quiet." Also, sei, means "sex" or "gender" in Japanese. And whenever Hard Gay wants to tell someone to come after him, he turns around, bends over some, slaps his ass, and shouts out, "Come and get some!" This can be seen as an invitation or a threat, whatever your preference is.
 So? Where is he? Where exactly has Hard Gay gone?
 After months of research and many sleepless nights I have discovered what happened to our hero.
There are actually several factors that play into his disappearance.
Shortly after his rise to stardom it was discovered that Hard Gay was not actually gay at all. Do you Believe it?! 
Sumitani’s supposed homosexuality was exposed as a gimmick when he was caught in the midst of a date. It was later revealed that he had been dating Japanese model and actress Anna Suzuki. The two later settled down and had a child in 2008. They were married only four days after Sumitani's supposed retirement. Suzuki posted earlier this year on her blog that the couple was now expecting their second child.
Another reason why Sumitani's Hard Gay character vanished may have had something to do with the fact that he'd been constantly criticized by the gay community in Japan. His stereotypical depiction of gay men which had been used to launch his comedy career didn't sit well with the Hokkaido Sexual Minority Association Sapporo Meeting, a support group for gay, lesbian and transgender people, has said: "Hard Gay’s acceptance by the Japanese public shows me that there is a strong tendency here to see homosexuality as something to be laughed at."
The most devastating of the reasons for his disappearance, however, was that Sumitani had suffered a career ending injury during a wrestling match. His character, Hard Gay, had risen to become one of the most well known faces of Japan's wrestling industry. He had come out of his supposed retirement after only a few months but it all came to an abrupt end in July 2009. He shattered his left foot while diving from the ring during a Hustle Promotion event at Korakuen Hall. It took 12 bolts to put his foot back together. He stated that upon his recovery he hoped to return to TV comedy.
 In regards to his transition back to television comedy, Sumitani has revealed that during his present hiatus between his career ending wrestling injury and his impending TV return that he has fallen on hard times and has been making the equivalent of $70 a month. He is planning to reinvent himself because he does not want to go down in Japanese television history as a "one hit wonder". Whether this entails a new graphic novel for his HG character or a brand new character altogether for Sumitani remains to be seen.

Good Luck Hard Gay! Do your Best!

Thanks to Wikipedia for giving me a hand with the whole Japanese pun-age thing.