Tonpei Hidari
Hidari Tonpei in Japanese characters

Tonpei Hidari Tonpei Hidari

Sad news

Tonpei Hidari passed away on 24th February 2018, aged 80. The following Japanese news article gives the details: 左とん平さん死去 80歳「時間ですよ」「寺内貫太郎一家」などで名脇役― スポニチ Sponichi Annex 芸能

Tonpei actually appeared with Masaaki Sakai (Monkey), Masako Natsume (Tripitaka) in a 1977 film called "TRUCK YARO:OTOKO IPPIKI MOMOTARO" in the 1970s. Press play on the video below:

Between times 0:30 and 0:38, you can see Masako Natsume (Tripitaka).
Between times 2:42 and 02:47, you can see Masaaki Sakai (Monkey) followed by Tonpei Hidari (Pigsy no. 2).

The video below shows him singing the Japanese version of the Grease song "You're the One that I Want" with Masako Mori:


He was born on 30th May 1937 in Tokyo. His real name is Hiromichi Hidaki. The house where he was born was a restaurant and sushi shop. He was the youngest of three brothers. In 1953 he entered Setagaya High School. At that time, spurred by the performances of the Dassen Trio and Hisaya Morishige, who were then in vogue, he decided to become a comedian. In 1954, while still at school, he entered the Yoyogi Actors' School. In 1956, he graduated from high school and helped out in the family sushi shop. In 1957 he formed a theatre group with his friends. Taking advantage of the opening performance, he got to know Akiyuki Nozaka who was acting as manager for Keiro Miki and that year he introduced him to Miki and he entered Miki's Joke Studio. In 1960 he joined Kiyoko Tange's Etcetera Theatrical Troupe. He appeared in the play "Eiga Gojunen Shi" at the Shinjuku Koma Theatre and with Mariko Miyagi in "Doro No Naka No Rubi".

He has appeared in films from 1963 onwards during the 60s. He was under contract to Toei's theatrical section and appeared in many plays for them. In 1973 he scored a great hit with his line, "Hey, whatcha name?", on TBS' "Ginza Night Night" and this became a catchphrase. His small frame and small round eyes have great appeal and have added to his comical acting. Since then he has been active in TV, films, stage and advertising. He has even handled serious roles and broadened his acting skills. He has appeared in many more films between 1968 and 1980. On TV he played a Japanese Columbo-style detective in a raincoat opposite Shigeru Amachi in NET's "Hijo No Licence", as well as appearing in other TV series. He even has a record, "Tonpei No Hey You Blues". In 1979 he set up a three person company with Fumio Watanabe and Katsuko Kanai. It gave its first performance at the Kiinokuniya.

In 1962 he was married.

Tonpei Hidari remained active in show biz after appearing in Monkey. In fact he was in a celebrity golf tournament/ on TV in May 2003! He was regularly on TV.

As well as being on TV he released a single in 1973 called "Tonpei no Hey you Blues" or translated: "Tonpei's Hey you blues". He released a later album called "What are humans".

He also released a single 27 years later called "Ningen te nandaro" or translated: "What are humans?".

In later years, he spent most of his time doing talk shows, but featured in comedies such as "Oedo degozaru" or translated "Tokyo". Oedo is the old name for Tokyo and degozaru is an old word for representing existence, which has been shortened to desu. There was also a murder mystery that he was in as well.

If you have any information about Tonpei Hidari, e.g. films / TV shows he's starred in, photos of him, web pages mentioning him, please let me know using the Monkey Feedback page, and I'll put the information here.

Related web sites:

  • Tonpei Hidari [JMDB] - Tonpei Hidari's timeline on JMDB (in Japanese). You can view an English translation of this page courtesy of's superb English translation service: Tonpei Hidari's timeline on JMDB (in English)

  • Back to the Monkey Cast page