Yoshio Kou

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If I just wanted to make money, I could hold a music festival with some famous musicians... But that's far too boring! What I want is something so bizarre that it'll have the attention of people around the world!

Yoshio Kou (康 芳夫, Kō Yoshio) is the main protagonist of Showman of the Century Who Launched Oliver: Yoshio Kou, the fourth episode of The Lives of Eccentrics.

He is a private producer known for his ability to sell even "nothing" to people. In 1976, Kou brings to Japan Oliver, a chimpanzee whose appearance has led many to believe him to be human, intending to make him the center of attention of people around the world.


Yoshio Kou is a middle-aged man of average height and build. He has long, straight dark hair.

He usually wears either a business suit or casual clothes.


Yoshio Kou is a calm, collected, and confident man. These qualities allow him to use his impressive set of skills to their full extent.

When it comes to his job as a showman, Kou doesn't consider money his main priority. Kou appears to care more about the attention the public gives to his shows. Rather than exclusively working with things that are guaranteed to succeed, he often works with risky, yet remarkable, subjects, which also require a lot of funding.

Yoshio Kou tends to be quite cynical. He doesn't think highly of the general public, deeming it gullible and easily impressed. He often disregards ethics in his shows, being willing to deceive the public or realize ideas many would consider morally questionable.[1]



Yoshio Kou prides himself in his ability to sell anything to people. He has a lot of experience promoting and organizing big famous events as well as those that are bizarre and risky.



Yoshio Kou was born in 1937 in Tokyo to a Japanese mother and a Chinese father. Despite being discriminated against due to his mixed blood, Kou's forcefulness and sinister gaze ensured that he was never bullied. Growing up during the war, Kou was conflicted about Japan's position in the conflict, and even more so regarding the shift in its culture after the war.

Making a deal with the Korean yakuza.

In 1955, in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Kou was confronted by the Korean yakuza, who at the time, controlled the area. They demanded Kou and his friend to pay a fee to use the road. Instead of running away like his friend did, Kou struck a deal with them to collect the fees himself and gave the yakuza a third of the profits in exchange for leaving him and his friend be. He later managed their finances and set up a food delivery business to local Chinese people. One day, Kou noticed a group of people fascinated by what was advertised to be a snake with the head of a woman. Fascinated by the audience's ability to wholeheartedly believe such a boldfaced lie, Kou went into show business.

Kou would go on to promote all types of events. In 1958, Kou organized a jazz concert at the auditorium of Tokyo University, refuting the tradition of only classical music being played there on the grounds of musical discrimination. That same year, he produced lectures for Shintaro Ishihara, Tarō Okamoto, Tōru Takemitsu, and Shuntarō Tanikawa, among others. Kou graduated from university in 1962, and partnered with Japanese businessman Akira Jin to bring Russian shows to Japan the same year as a form of money laundering. He also oversaw a jazz concert in Japan featuring the likes of Sonny Rollins. Kou oversaw the transportation of 33 racecars to Fuji Speedway during the 1966 USAC Championship Car season, but the endeavor left him bankrupt and forced him to flee to Niigata Prefecture.

In 1969 and 1970, Kou resurfaced by publishing Kenji Ino's Iconoclast Series of books and Shōzō Numa's manga Yapoo, the Human Cattle. 1972 saw him organize the boxing title match held in Japan between Muhammad Ali and Mac Foster. The following year, Kou managed both a live performance in Japan by singer Tom Jones and an unsuccessful hunt for the Loch Ness Monster that involved 86 dives into the lake, lasted two days, and cost 150 million yen. After organizing another boxing title match, this time between Ali and Antonio Inoki, Kou found his newest venture in a monkey named Oliver, who was reported to possess 47 chromosomes.[1]

Showman of the Century Who Launched Oliver: Yoshio Kou

In 1976, Yoshio Kou organizes Oliver's visit to Japan. At the Miami airport Kou demands for Oliver, a chimpanzee at the time presumed to be human, to board the plane like a person, threatening to sue the company for discrimination. Having successfully recieved first class tickets, he flies to Japan with Oliver sitting next to him.

Kou notices Oliver reading an erotic magazine and gets an idea. Kou proposes letting Oliver mate with a live human female live on camera. Though members of the media doubt that any woman would be willing to do so, Kou introduces a 19-year-old unknown talent who is more than willing to bear Oliver's child. As the woman makes a contract with the media, Kou watches on and savors the attention his bizarre idea will elicit.

Kou and Oliver arrive at a hotel and book a suite by threatening to sue the hotel for failing to recognize Oliver as human. Oliver extends his hand to the receptionist, offering a handshake. Kou assures him that Oliver wants to greet him. The receptionist complies and gets his hand crushed by Oliver's inhumanly strong grip.

Stopping the broadcast and revealing that Oliver is a chimpanzee.

In the hotel, Oliver's arms and legs are tied, and the broadcast begins. As cameras film her from behind, the woman takes off her clothes and prepares to mount Oliver. Suddenly, Kou bursts into the room and orders the event to be terminated, as tests have concluded that Oliver has 48 chromosomes and is thus a chimpanzee. Oliver breaks free of his arm restraints as the woman is dragged out of the room, despite her pleas to be allowed to continue.

Laughing at the gullibility of the public while reading the newspaper.

The following day, July 23, 1976, saw the front pages of every newspaper in Japan filled with the revelation of Oliver's true identity. Of course, this had all been Kou's plan from the beginning. Though he would feign disgust at the bizarre experiment in public, Kou privately relished the spectacle of a mere chimpanzee being the single biggest story in the country.

In 1977, Kou makes an exclusive broadcasting contract with NBC for 500 million yen. He would arrange a fight between a Bengal tiger and a karate master in Haiti as it's one of the only places where such a thing would be legal. The show is cancelled at the last minute after Brigitte Bardot and animal rights groups contact president Carter. The news shocks Kou, not only due to it's suddenness, but also due to the fact, that they were more concerned for the tiger rather than the man who had to fight it. As a result of the show's cancellation, Kou loses 180 million yen and leaves Haiti in shame.

Kou continued attempting to produce public spectacles for some time, with limited results. In 1979, Kou was slated to oversee a boxing match between Antonio Inoki and Ugandan president Idi Amin, which was cancelled after Amin was forced out of power by a coup d'état. Four years later, Kou attempted to organize a search for Noah's Ark, but the project was quickly interrupted by the ongoing Iran-Iraq War. Kou's final major project was a controversial column in Weekly Playboy titled "Kazuyoshi Miura's Anarchy Life Consultation," which was written from the perspective of the titular suspected murderer and lasted three issues.

By 2002, Kou's role has mostly been superseded by specialized advertising companies, to his irritation. When asked about the profit he has turned from his various ventures in an interview, Kou dismisses the question, stating that money is nothing compared to the thrills it can give birth to.[1]


Quote.png Quotes



Araki alongside Yoshio Kou


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