MINE, Yamaguchi-Popular comedian Sakurazuka Yakkun has been killed in an accident on an expressway in Mine, Yamaguchi Prefecture.
Yakkun, whose real name was Yasuo Saito, was traveling on the Chugoku Expressway when the van he was in struck the centre divider at about 4:50 p.m. Saturday. Saito, 37, of Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, and Kotaro Sunamori of Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, got out of the van but were struck by oncoming vehicles and killed. Sunamori was 55. Two other people in the van suffered light injuries.
Saito became popular appearing on TV shows under the stage name Sakurazuka Yakkun, wearing a girl's school uniform and carrying a bamboo sword.
According to the expressway patrol unit of the Yamaguchi prefectural police, Saito and Sunamori were struck by different vehicles. The incident occurred on a downward sloping curve, and it was raining at the time.
The five men in the van were traveling to Kumamoto Prefecture for a concert scheduled to be held there on Monday.