|Member of the House of Representatives|
|Constituency||Kinki PR block|
|Governor of Miyazaki|
|Preceded by||Tadahiro Ando|
|Succeeded by||Shunji Kono|
September 16, 1957 |
Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan
|Political party||Japan Restoration Party (2012-present)|
|Spouse(s)||Kazuko Kato (1990-2006, divorced)|
|Alma mater||Senshu University|
Sonomanma Higashi (そのまんま東 literally "Higashi without change" or "simply Higashi" ), born September 16, 1957 as Hideo Higashikokubaru (東国原 英夫 Higashikokubaru Hideo ) in Miyakonojo, Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan, is a politician and former Japanese comedian who is most known for his role in the popular game show, Takeshi's Castle, and as the Governor of Miyazaki Prefecture from 2007 to 2011. He was succeeded by Vice Governor Shunji Kono. In 2011, he ran unsuccessfully against Tokyo Governor Shintarō Ishihara for the Tokyo governorship, ultimately coming in second. He plans to run again to replace the newly-resigned Ishihara in the gubernatorial election in December 2012.
Higashikokubaru graduated from Senshu University in the early 1980s. He entered Waseda University in 2000. At that time, he was in the School of Letters, Arts and Sciences II. He graduated and re-entered, majoring in local autonomy, in March 2004, but dropped out in March 2006.
He appeared on Takeshi's Castle, which was dubbed on United States television as Most Extreme Elimination Challenge (MXC). On that show, he was dubbed as Kenny Blankenship.
On January 21, 2007, Higashi was elected governor of Miyazaki Prefecture, replacing former governor Tadahiro Ando, who resigned after being arrested for bid rigging. He uses his official name (Hideo Higashikokubaru) as governor of Miyazaki.
In 2010, he decided not to run for re-election. He left office on January 20, 2011.
On December 9, 1986, Higashi was one of those who were arrested at the offices of Friday magazine, after he and other members of Takeshi Kitano's group attacked the magazine offices (among others spraying fire extinguishers) to protest a critical article about Takeshi Kitano that the magazine had published. All attackers were sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for two years.
On October 13, 1998, a manager of a so-called image club (a type of brothel) was arrested for employing underage girls. A 16-year-old employee pointed Higashi out as one of her customers. He was interrogated several times by the police, but was not indicted as he claimed he did not know the girl was under 18. His then-wife apologized on his behalf to the Japanese public via the media, and he himself took a five-month voluntary break from his work as an entertainer.
On November 22, 1999, at a year-end-party held for Takeshi Kitano office employees, he kicked another participant in the head, injuring him. He was prosecuted for this, and fined, after which he again took a voluntary leave from his entertainment activity.
- Height: 171 centimetres (5 feet 7 inches)
- Weight: 59 kilograms (130 lb)
- Marital status: Divorced (Higashi and wife Kazuko Kato split in February 2006)
- Hobbies: Golf, marathon running
- Waratteru Baai desu yo! (1980)
- Oretachi Hyokinzoku (1981–1989)
- Owarai Star Tanjo (1983)
- Super Jocky (1983–1990)
- Takeshi's Castle (1986–1989)
- Darenimo ienai (1993)
- Kinki results
- ""Higashikokubaru to run again for Tokyo governorship"". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- Brasor, Phillip. From comedian to politician: an easy step for Miyazaki's governor, The Japan Times
- Ishihara easily wins reelection / Tokyo governor takes 4th term; DPJ suffers setback in local polls The Daily Yomiuri, 2011-04-11
- Comedian Sonomanma Higashi, actress Kazuko Kato divorce
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Hideo Higashikokubaru|
|Legal offices||Governor of Miyazaki