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Bobby Ologun is a Nigerian resident in Japan.
Now, as naturalised Japanese, Bobby ranks among Japan’s biggest television personalities. Besides, he is a top K-1 mixed martial artist in Japan, while his younger brother, Andy Ologun, who is also residing in Japan, is also a K-1 lightweight mixed martial artist and kick boxer.
Born in 1973 as Karim Ologun, Bobby, who is the third brother in a family of 31 brothers and sisters, left Nigeria to work as an assistant for a trading company which his father managed in Japan.
There in Japan, in 2001, Bobby did a part-time job in the kitchen of a cafe in Daikanyama, Shibuya and that same year, he made his first appearance in Sanma Akashiya’s television programme – Sanma’s Super Karakuri-TV on Tokyo Broadcasting System as a non-Tarento interviewee.
It was Bobby’s first appearance on a Japanese TV that made him a cynosure of all eyes – it was a lifetime experience that boosted his ambition of becoming a TV personality.
Bobby, who speaks English, Yoruba, and Japanese fluently, on July 26, 2007, announced on Mezamashi TV, that he had become a naturalised citizen of Japan, taking his wife’s surname and registering officially as Bobby Konda. He currently lives in Saitama, Saitama Prefecture.
The background feature of the TV programme as a variety show is to capture foreigners who have trouble speaking Japanese. Bobby’s charismatic approach on the show, though not very fluent in Japanese then was seen as what gave him immediate success as a TV personality. An account said during the programme, “his frequent confusion quickly made him an instant star on the Karakuri-TV show.”
Some of the noticeable mistakes he made were put thus: “When asked once to compose a ‘haiku’ poem, he quickly created this work of art: ‘A winter morning, the pigeon looks very, very delicious.’
“Frequently shouted: ‘Don’t mess about!’ to people who hold a higher position or status than him. He also addresses them with very rude pronouns, such as ‘Omae’ (you) and ‘Aitsu’ (that damn person over there).
“Called the famous diviner Kazuko Hosoki, ‘Usagi-sensei’ (rabbit teacher) instead of ‘Hosoki-sensei’ on the TV show. He confused ‘tensai’ (genius) with ‘hentai’ (pervert). “Rearranged Ayumi Hamasaki’s name into ‘Amaguri Kayumi’ (itchy sweet-chestnut).
However, the ‘Amaguri’ could have been a switch out for ‘Hamaguri’ which is a type of clam that is symbolic of the vulva in Japanese culture (it is common to switch taboo words for their closest spelled or phonetic equivalent in Japanese entertainment), hence the lasting novelty of the gaffe.
He is supposedly a fan of Hamasaki. Routinely mistook ‘Kincho’ (nervous) with ‘Kancho’ (enema).”
He explained his initial brush with children who he initially thought were racists in Japan: “I can’t go to a single elementary or junior high school in Shizuoka/Shimizu without the kids yelling out this guy’s name every time they see me.
“Not only is it an annoying sound: “Boe-beeeee, Boe-beeeeee, Boe-beeeeee,” it is insulting to be so casually thrust into the same category as this clown; as though he is the best example of how black people are.
“Some of my friends don’t seem to understand why I get angry whenever the kids call me ‘Bobby,’ I suppose it’s a black thing.” But Bobby said overtime, he had learned how to spot racist archetypes, to know how to deal with them.
Bobby’s entertainment style is seen in “his feigned ignorance, googly eyes and penchant for getting himself into the most asinine situations” said to be “equivalent of a “blackface” performance. This, an analyst said “makes him shuffles for his Japanese audience like a player in a modern day minstrel show.