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Est. 40 million tune in to tribute show for late Japanese comedian Ken Shimura

Ken Shimura is pictured in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward in this file photo taken on April 27, 2010. (Mainichi/Akihiro Ogomori)

TOKYO -- A TV program paying tribute to the late Japanese comedian Ken Shimura, who died on March 29 from pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus, was watched by over 40 million people across Japan, according to ratings and marketing firm Video Research Ltd.

The program, which aired on Fuji TV from 7 p.m. on April 1, earned an average viewer share of 21.9% for households in the Kanto region in eastern Japan, and was watched by an estimated 40.726 million people across the country, the company said.

The figures emerged from a nationwide ratings survey that began on March 30, with individual viewing surveyed in addition to the regular household statistics. This enabled the firm to estimate the number of people who watched the program. The viewer rating for individual viewers stood at 14.8% in the Kanto region.

Fuji TV said an estimated 40.726 million people watched the program for one minute or more, while the average number of viewers per minute over the duration of the two-hour program reached an estimated 18.852 million people -- a sign of just how popular the comedian was. The survey covered 27 Fuji TV-affiliated stations.

The show included famous comedy skits from Fuji TV shows from over the years, including "Dorifu Daibakusho," "Shimura Ken no Baka Tonosama" and "Shimura Ken no Daijobuda." The viewer share for the program in the Kanto region peaked at 27.3% at 8.27 p.m. when a skit featuring Shimura and actress Yoko Ishino was aired.

The viewer share by household reached 23.2% in the Kansai region in western Japan, 25.9% in the Nagoya area in central Japan, 28.5 percent in the Kitakyushu area of southwest Japan and 27.1 percent in the Sapporo area of Japan's northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido.

(Japanese original by Hiroki Sasamoto, Cultural News Department)

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