Coauthored by Brian Ashcraft, a senior contributing editor for the website Kotaku, and Osaka based tattoo artist Hori Benny, this book Japanese Tattoos: History * Culture * Design was written with the goal with the intention of helping those that are thinking of getting a Japanese style tattoo (perhaps most commonly known outside of Japanese as irezumi・刺青). Both authors use extensive knowledge of Japanese style tattooing and personal interviews to guide the novice away from committing any cultural faux pas in a work that spans 158 glossy pages.
“Over the course of researching, interviewing, and writing this book, we
consulted numerous friends, colleagues, experts, and total strangers with the
goal of introducing and decoding the most prevalent motifs so that English
speakers can have a better understanding of their meaning and hopefully get
Japanese tattoos that can be worn with pride – as they should be”
The book begins with an introduction to
the history of irezumi in Japan, from punitive tattoos, to prohibition, and all
the way back to modern times. This first section also covers briefly some
reasons why Japanese tattoos have changed over time. The book is then divided
into six additional chapters based on the different styles and motifs found in
irezumi, with numerous sections in each chapter that clearly divide different
motifs in that style. A tattooist and client profile are also included at the
end of every chapter, giving life to the theme of that particular chapter. There
are also information boxes that provide additional information to support the
content within the main body of the work. All of this is supported with high
quality, full colour images of tattoos and virtually every single page of the
What I found extremely impressive about
this book was the sheer quantity and quality of the accompanying images. Not
only are specific motifs and their meanings clearly explained, but the authors
have also provided imagery and explanations of the images themselves. The
reader is able to enjoy each and every motif – usually in more than one style.
Both Ashcraft and Hori Benny did an exceptional job collecting the various
photographs of irezumi for the book.
Perhaps my favourite aspect of the book
though, was the addition of the Tattooist Profile and Tattoo Client Profile at
the end of every single chapter. While the majority of the book reads, to an
extent, like an irezumi dictionary of sorts, these sections brought extra life
into the vast amount of information being provided. We, as readers, are given
the opportunity to hear the voices of individuals that are not the authors.
These sections are personal and provide a real solid look into the minds of the
tattoo artists and their clients. We are able to see their views on irezumi and
what they mean to them personally. The extra insight brought in by these
sections is a crucial component in what makes Japanese Tattoos work – it makes the “foreign” content relatable.
That being said, the large amount of
information that the book contains is also a weakness. There were certain
sections that I found difficult to read. There are extra text bubbles of
information throughout the book, but in some places their existence takes away
from the overall flow of the work. The reader is obligated to both stop
midsentence to go read the “extras” or move on and hope they don’t forget to go
back and read them again. Such as,
“The fox (kitsune in Japanese) is associated with the formless Shinto deity Inari, who is sometimes depicted as male, other times as female and sometimes as gender-less. Inari is not only the god of rice, sake wine, and fertility, but also the god of metal workers and commerce. Stone fox statues often appear at the more than ten thousand officially recognized Inari shrines in Japan, and because the fox guards these shrines, the animal is often confused with the god. The pure white foxes, however, aren’t simply the god’s messengers, but also guard and protect the shrines. These foxes also carry connotations of wealth and fertility, due to Inari’s rice associations.” (pg. 57)
I found sections like this rather
disjointing and it did affect my reading experience. Definitely not a problem
for many readers, but something that I wish would have been laid out a little
better, especially considering the high quality of the content on every single
Overall, Japanese Tattoos was a fascinating read and I would recommend it enthusiastically to anyone interested in tattoos or keen to learn more about specifically about irezumi. While perhaps the academic might find the content a bit shallow in terms of the historical content, it is important to remember that that is NOT the goal that Brian Ashcraft and Hori Benny set for this book. They wanted to create a resource for English speakers who wanted to get Japanese tattoos. A goal that I would say they accomplished with flourishing colours.
Taylor Drew is a new contributor to JSRC she is a Canadian living in Tokyo since 2015. (Almost) fluent in Japanese. Loves Iwate and cats.
Everyone knows there is a dark side to journalism. If they don’t, they just haven’t worked the job long enough. It’s even darker when you work for a Japanese newspaper that still has morning and evening editions. That means six deadlines a day, since each regional version has its own deadline. I don’t miss those days.
When you’re on the police beat, you essentially live within the police press club. There’s at least one 24-hour shift a week, in which you may or may not catch a couple hours of sleep between 2 and 5:30 a.m., when you have to check the papers to see if the team has been scooped and notify the boss and the reporter in charge of the division.
You’re never home. You’re never not on call. Most of us end up divorced or legally separated. You will not be able to avoid hounding the friends, families and victims of a horrible crime for their statements and photos of the deceased. It’s a hyena-like task that I still do and will always dislike.
The darker side of the police beat or investigative journalism in Japan, especially when covering the yakuza, or as the police call them boryokudan (暴力団), or violent groups, is that eventually you’ll meet with violence. And I have several times. It’s left me with a litany of injuries – a weekly regimen of physical therapy, chronic post-traumatic stress and some brain damage.
As it stands, the head injury I suffered in 2010 has been both a blessing and a curse. It has resulted in temporal lobe seizures, less frequent as time goes on. I have a lesion in my brain, located around the temporal lobe – the product of a two-story fall, I suppose that was the initial injury (1986). In January 2010, an angry source – an ex-yakuza high as a kite on some very good crystal meth – kicked me in the head after I set him off and what was a conversation turned into a knock-down brawl. I believe he was in the midst of meth psychosis so it was hard to hold it against him.
It took a few days to realize that I wasn’t quite the same after that. I think that’s when things started going wrong on the temporal level; time was out of joint.
You might think that being able to relive the greatest moments of your life would a wonderful thing. You would be wrong. A few times a week, I have the displeasure, usually at random, but sometimes triggered by a sound or scent, of re-experiencing a past event in my life. Often they are very mundane. I wouldn’t call them memories, they’re stronger than that – they’re more than flashbacks. For me, they constitute a temporal dislocation; a disruption in the chronology of life; identity; of who I am and how I feel.
These re-experiences are things like laying down on a futon, beside a window on a rainy day. A woman I used to love, putting her hand on my neck and whispering something into my ear about the growth of oak trees in the summer. I lose myself for a minute, maybe just a few seconds. When I sleep, it’s worse. Sometimes, I relive violent events in my life—with all the fear, adrenaline, anger and pain that came with it. I feel the glass in my feet and I can’t stand up. When I calm down and check the soles and see that there’s nothing there–then I’m fine. It feels just as real as it did back then. I know that there’s no threat but my body doesn’t listen, so going back to sleep isn’t really much of an option. I could take a sleeping pill but that’s also another world of troubles.
I write a lot at night. I know many cafes and bars that are open at 3am; it’s good to have a place to go when it happens.
Generally, I’m very good at covering up my temporal disorder. I slip up now and then. I used to buy picture books for my children and then realize it has been years since they read books without words. My daughter when she was ten once horrified me by telling me that she was going to need a sports bra. Because in my head, I can remember reading to her Alice in Wonderland, the pop-up book, just last night. That was probably six years ago at the time. Everything seems like yesterday.
At least I’m blessed with faculties that tell me my sense of time and chronology is out of whack. But when I’m tired or sleep- deprived, it’s much harder to remember what was past and what is present. After a flashback, I have this strange feeling that time should have stopped where it was; that I should be walking into work at The Yomiuri Shimbun and filing an article on the latest hit- and-run. Right after one ends, I feel myself right back where I was at the time. It’s as if the world had been rebooted and put back to factory-shipped state.
After my temporal clock resets, I find myself feeling about a person I once loved exactly as I did – at what were wonderful little moments in the relationship. Weren’t we dancing together last night in a seedy bar in New York? Why can’t we just start at that point in time again? Because what happened after that doesn’t feel like it happened. It feels for a few moments as if that’s where time stopped.
I feel like I could go back to any point in time and pick up where things were. The rest of the world doesn’t function like that.
I’ve lost a lot of friends over the years. My mentor and sort of second father, Detective Chiaki Sekiguchi died of cancer in 2008. A colleague at the newspaper killed herself. People who were good friends and sources have gone missing. In 2010, lawyer and mentor, Toshiro Igari, was probably killed in the Philippines after taking on my case against the publisher of a yakuza boss’ biography. After obtaining the autopsy report from the Manila police, it’s clear that suicide was not the cause of death. A source, but not a friend, was shot to death in Thailand in April of 2011. I miss him as well, despite myself. My BFF, Michiel Brandt, passed away due to complications from leukemia in 2012. She was 30. I’m now 50. I keep waiting for the pain of that loss to be a little less but it stays. Even when you are well aware that life is impermanent and death comes to us all, sometimes it just seems too soon. There’s a part of you that doesn’t expect you to outlive your friends, especially when they are so much younger than you. Sometimes, I see her in dreams as well.
Sometimes, I have flashbacks to moments where I was a total jerk. Where I was rude or insensitive and I feel the same pangs of regret in the present that I felt in the past. I relive the mistake with no possibility of correcting it.
I have keys to apartments to where I can never go back in the physical universe. But in my own mindscape, I was just there and will be there again. Everything should be just where it was. The peanut butter in the cupboard, my toothbrush in a drawer, the balcony door open. The computer would be on the desk where I used to keep it. My desk in the Metro Police Headquarters should still have my stack of yakuza fanzines on top, stuffed into a cheap cardboard box. I wish I could throw away the old keys but I have this irrational belief that I will need them—even though the locks must have been changed and there is no reason to go back and no one there I know anymore.
Some of the memories are horrific. And they come with all the pain and horror of the time: photos casually shown to me that I never wanted to see; the smell of rusty iron from a bloody body, laying cut to shreds on a train track; or the sensation of burning, when a thug stubbed out his cigarette on my shoulder.
In general, maybe it’s because I’ve spent so much time in Japan, I try to take a stoic approach to things. The idea of seeing a psychotherapist to resolve mental issues seemed like a waste of time. But I finally went to see one in 2010, to try and do something about my insomnia. After a couple of sessions, the diagnosis was chronic post-traumatic stress disorder. He recommended anti- depressants to deal with the hyper-vigilance issues. I didn’t take them. I stopped going. I need to be hyper vigilant at times. It’s a survival mechanism.
I don’t want to turn it off; I just want to control it better. Meditation helps. Sleep helps. Exercise helps.
I thought that diagnosis would explain the strange flashbacks that were happening, but all I could find in the literature were references to people having flashbacks to traumatic events, not mundane or pleasant moments. It took a scan of my head and a visit to a neurologist to finally get diagnosed correctly.
There has to be a reason why we forget things. If we could recall the past too vividly, the present might pale in comparison. If we can’t forget, we can’t move on. Maybe our minds would explode with the complications of retaining memories of the past and awareness of the present at the same time.
I have anxiety about sleeping. I never know what time of my life I’ll wake up in. The persistence of the past both helps and hinders my relationships in the present. It helps because I get to relive mistakes and am thus reminded not do them again. It hinders because I’m able to forgive and then forget I’ve forgiven someone in the first place. Or forgive myself.
I’d like to walk on; I just keep treading water.
There’s a weariness that comes with covering violent crime, fraud, and human trafficking. There’s a sense of futility. You keep covering the same story, over and over – only the characters change. The narrative remains the same. In recent years, I’ve moved away from crime reporting and covering the yakuza. Bitcoin, politics, social issues, corruption, financial news. There’s a whole other world of things to report on–and just as important to know as well.
These days I’m in a good place mentally and physically. I am, if not happy, quite content with where I am and what I’m doing. But sometimes when I wake up, especially after having a disorienting flashback, I find myself strangely detached from life itself. I can only explain it by borrowing the words of Qoheleth, in the Book of Ecclesiastes:
What has been is still happening now
What has been will be again and be as it is
just as it was
There is nothing new under the (Iand of the rising) sun.
TOKYO – July 16, 2018 Filmsnoir Motion Pictures and Fusion For Peace Productions are proud to share their rewards-based crowdfunding campaign for the independent motion picture STAY, shot in Tokyo by award-winning filmmaker Darryl Wharton-Rigby. The campaign seeks to raise 1500000\ ($15K) to complete final post-production in preparation for distribution and to raise awareness of their collective efforts to change the landscape of the Japanese Film Industry, as Wharton-Rigby is only the second African American to produce a feature film in Japan, in its 100+ years history. To date the campaign has secured over 600000\ ($6K) from supporters on Makuake, the Japanese crowdfunding platform. With just 9 days remaining, in this all of nothing effort, the producers are urgently pleading with the public to support their efforts.
“We are extremely grateful for the contributions we’ve received in response to the crowdfunding campaign for our feature film Stay. Because of generous donations, we are currently close to reaching 40% of our objective,” comments Executive Producer, Christopher Rathbone. “We believe in this film and are excited by the possibilities. Given the global festival acceptance rate and the awards won, STAY has great potential. With continued support, we can maintain this momentum and raise enough funds to complete the project in preparation for distribution and the Japanese premiere.”
The campaign seeks to build a community committed to film diversity and offers a variety of rewards including chopsticks, key chains, posters, screenplay copies, digital downloads, film credits, invitation to private screening as well as lunch with the director and film and it’s star, Shogen.
STAY, a touching romance, the story follows a couple who fall passionately in love over a long weekend. Ryuu is a Japanese man who is a recovering drug addict, and Hope, is an American enjoying her last days in Japan. The film features emerging Japanese star, Shogen and introduces British model/actress, Ana Tanaka. Lensed by photographer Jeremy Goldberg, STAY, Wharton-Rigby’s second feature film, was shot on the Tokyo streets in fifteen days, guerrilla style. It’s a technique the former Homicide: Life on the Street writer has used throughout his career.
“Shooting STAY in Tokyo on the BlackMagic Pocket Camera made us virtually invisible and allowed us to capture the city up close and personal. We shot on train platforms and trains, Tsukiji Fish Market, ramen shops. Everywhere,” explains Writer/Director Darryl Wharton-Rigby. “Every day was something new and challenging. We were constantly on edge. I really wanted STAY to feel like it was made by a Japanese filmmaker,” says Rigby.
For the black filmmaker, who lives with his family in Saitama, Japan, this story is personal as his father supervised recovery houses in Baltimore where he grew up. However, after reading aboutthe plight of those dealing with recovery in Japan, he decided that Tokyo would make an interesting backdrop for STAY, while simultaneously promoting diversity and inclusion in the Japanese film industry.
1984 — Shoko Asahara, a visually impaired yogi, forms “AUM Shinsen no Kai,” later renames it AUM Shinrikyo. It mixes elements of yoga, Buddhism, and other religions and begins recruiting college students and intellectuals.
1987- AUM incorporates in New York City under the name Aum USA Company, Ltd. In the US it attempts to purchase military weapons, develop chemical weapons.
February 1989–AUM members strangle to death, 21-year-old Shuji Taguchi who had wanted to escape the group at its complex in Shizuoka Prefecture.
Nov. 4, 1989 — AUM members acting on orders from Asahara, kill the lawyer Tsutsumi Sakamoto, his wife and their 1-year-old son at their home in Yokohama. The lawyer had been part of growing vocal opposition to the group.
1990 — Asahara and 24 other disciples run unsuccessfully in a parliamentary election. The defeat spurs Asahara to begin plans to take over the country and began developing chemical weapons. The group also began manufacturing methamphetamines and small-scale incinerators which they sell to the Yamaguchi-gumi and other yakuza groups to raise funds.
1993-AUM purchases a 500,000 acre sheep farm in Australia where they test out sarin gas, leaving behind 29 dead sheep.
AUM begins training helicopter pilots in the United States in hopes of eventually dispersing sarin gas over the Tokyo via helicopter. Plans for launching an attack within the US are also considered.
June 1994-AUM purchases a helicopter from Russia
June 27 — AUM members test sarin nerve gas in a residential area of city of Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture. Eight people are killed, 100 injured.
December 12–AUM members kill a member, Tadahito Hamaguchi, with highly toxic VX gas on an Osaka street. He was suspected of being an informant.
January 1,1995–Yomiuri Newspaper publishes on their front page a special report that the police had found elements of Sarin gas in the ground near AUM facilities in Yamanashi Prefecture, linking the cult to the 1994 attack.
February 28,1995-AUM members abduct Kiyoshi Kariya, 68, to find his sister who wanted to leave the group. He dies under interrogation and his body is incinerated in a cult-built microwave heating device. (This and the other murders were later referenced in the series Millennium episode 2, Gehena).
March 20,– AUM members release sarin gas on Tokyo subway system. Thirteen people are killed and over 6000 injured. Police immediately suspect AUM.
April 23, AUM leader in charge of “Science Technology” and conduit to organized crime, Hideo Murai, is stabbed to death by a Yamaguchi-gumi members in front of the group’s headquarters, while reporters watch. The spokesman for the group says, “I heard that Murai was killed by the Jews.”
May 5–AUM members plant a cyanide bomb in the bathroom of an underground passage connected to Shinjuku stations, near the ventilation system. The poisonous fumes would have killed thousands if the bomb hadn’t been found.
May 16 — Asahara is arrested.
2000-AUM officially disbands and reforms under the name Aleph.
Feb. 27, 2004 — The Tokyo District Court sentences Asahara to death.
Sep. 15, 2006 — Asahara’s death sentence is finalized.
Aleph splits into another faction, Hikari no Wa. Later, a third faction of the group emerges.
June 15, 2012 — The last fugitive former AUM member, Katsuya Takahashi, is arrested for his part in the subway attacks.
Jan. 18, 2018 — The Supreme Court rejects Takahashi’s appeal, ending all trials linked to AUM Shinrikyo cult.
July 6, 2018 — Asahara and six others are executed by hanging. Seven members remain on death rows while their cases are being appealed.
Shiori Ito is a brave journalist who has taken on Japan’s rape culture and has pursued justice in her own case. The BBC released a documentary “Japan’s Secret Shame” about Japan’s lack of ability to deal with sexual assault in the country and why her accused assailant was allowed to walk away, even after an arrest warrant on charges of rape were issued by the police. The documentary is hard to view outside of the UK, so if you’d like to know mere, here’s everything you should know until it’s released here. Many of these articles were written for The Daily Beast, which has been supportive of the investigative journalism behind these stories.
Also, it should be noted that weekly magazine, Shukan Shincho (週刊新潮), was the first periodical to write about this story and pulled no punches in accused the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of blocking a rape investigation.
Below is a list of articles that we’ve written on the case, some at a time, when no other major news media outlet would touch the story.
The stories are in chronological order here and the final entry is being updated when possible.
(originally posted in October 2017. periodically updated)
Japan’s ruling coalition, headed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has been mired in scandal for several weeks amid allegations Abe personally bent the law or broke it to benefit his political cronies and friends. Even a senior member of Abe’s own Liberal Democratic Party says, “There is nothing this administration wouldn’t do to crush its enemies and reward its pals.”
The story became national news on May 29 when a 28-year-old journalist named Shiori Ito held a press conference at the Tokyo District Court as she sought to reopen the closed investigation into her case….(Click here for part one: Is Japan’s Top Politician Behind a Shameful Rape Cover-Up and for the follow up Japan’s Big #MeToo Moment) . She did not win a reopening of the case but filed a civil suit at the end of September. Last March, the civil courts did essentially find a man guilty of rape and fine him for damages—after police failed to file charges in time for a criminal case to be possible. Shiori Ito also came forward with her full name and published a book, Black Box, referring to the fear of sexual assault victims to come forward in Japan, (only 1 in 5 do, and half of cases resulting in arrest are dropped by prosecutors) and the government and police discouragement of sexual assault investigations and their refusal to discuss why they drop cases, even to the victims. Shiori Ito has gained a groundswelling of public support in recent months.
The arrest warrant for Noriyuki Yamaguchi was reportedly pulled by Itaru Nakamura, the acting chief of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department Investigative Division at the time, on June 8 2015.
The chief detective waiting to arrest Yamaguchi, the alleged rapist, informed Ito over the phone, “We have to let him go. The arrest has been stopped from above. I’m terribly sorry. I didn’t do enough.”
Itaru Nakamura is a more important figure than his title as an acting police chief might suggest. He is also a former political secretary to Cabinet Minister Yoshihide Suga and a friend of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He immediately moved the investigation from the original police department, Takanawa PD, to the police headquarters so that it was under his control.
The prosecutor who had signed off on the arrest warrant was taken off the case. The new detectives handling it drove Shiori Ito to a lawyer to convince her to make a settlement with the accused and drop charges, a highly unusual move.
The Daily Beast has tried to reach Nakamura for comment several times with no luck.
Nakamura is currently the chief of The National Police Agency Organized Crime Control Division, which gives guidance on the controversial and Orwellian criminal conspiracy laws that the Abe administration ramrodded through the parliament.
“I’ve sent him letters,” says Ito. “I’ve tried to meet him now six times––the first time I’ve ever done a stakeout. He won’t talk to me. I just want him to look me in the eye and tell me why he stopped the arrest and scuttled the investigation.” She even once chased him as he ran to his chauffeured car–only to be nearly ran over as he sped away.
Only in Japan do rape victims have to chase the police to seek justice. In a better world, the cops would be actively chasing the suspected rapist.
It is possible that Prime Minister Abe, his second in command, and Nakamura may be pursued in the Japanese Parliament by opposition party members seeking the truth. But don’t hold your breath. Many are reluctant to open the black box. If #metoo (#私も) ever starts trending here, it would do a lot to pry the lid open. Shiori Ito has at least made a dent in it…..and her press conference is something that says a lot about how things still work in Japan.
For reference purposes, here is the text of her speech, translated from Japanese, with some editing for clarity.
Thank you for coming today.
First of all, I would like to address why I decided to hold this press conference.
Two years ago, I was raped. Going through the subsequent procedures, I came to the painful realization that the legal and social systems in Japan work against victims of sex crimes. I felt strongly about needing to change this adverse structure, and decided to go public with my case.
I will go into details later, but in the beginning, the police would not even let me file a report on this case. They told me that it was difficult to investigate sex crimes under the current law. Also, the person in question, Mr. Yamaguchi, was the Washington Bureau Chief of Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) at the time, and a public figure. During the investigation, I received insults that were unbearable as a victim.
However, my intention is not to criticize the entire police force. The Takanawa Police eventually became sympathetic to my situation and worked hard to investigate this case. Thanks to their efforts, investigations were completed and an arrest warrant was issued. But just as the warrant was about to be executed, the then-Chief Detective ordered investigators to call off the arrest. I question the existence of a police organization that allows such unforgiveable circumstances to transpire.
I also question the procedures that sex crime victims are required to undergo at hospitals in order to receive treatment and examinations, as well as the insensitivity of organizations that provide information for victims. A fundamental change needs to be made to this structure.
On the legislative level, the Diet is currently prioritizing discussions about conspiracy laws over the proposed bill to revise rape crimes, whose content is also something that we need to reconsider to ensure that they are truly satisfactory.
I hope that by talking about my experience publicly, I will help improve the current structure and start discussions that will lead to changes. This was my motivation behind making this announcement.
This afternoon, I made an appeal to the Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution about my case being dropped.
I will omit details of the incident itself, as it would be difficult to read them aloud. Please refer to the handouts for details. What I can say is that a sexual act was committed against me, unrelated to my will, against my will. I will talk about the events that ensued after the incident.
Circumstances of the Incident
I met Mr. Yamaguchi, then TBS’s Washington Bureau Chief, in the fall of 2013, when I was studying journalism and photography at a university in New York. I met him a second time in the US, but we did not engage in any deep discussions on either occasion.
After I graduated, I aspired to work as a freelance journalist because I wanted to lend an ear to unheard voices, and to listen to their stories over long period of time. But upon returning to Japan at the beginning of 2015, my parents convinced me to first work at a company for a few years. In March of the same year, I emailed Mr. Yamaguchi to ask if there were any openings at the TBS Washington Bureau, because he had previously told me that he could arrange for me to work there. And when I was interning at Nippon Television’s New York Bureau, there were people who had been hired locally. So I didn’t question Mr. Yamaguchi’s offer.
Mr. Yamaguchi’s replies were positive about my employment: “You could start working here while we look at getting you hired you officially;” “The biggest barrier will be the visa, but TBS could help you get one.”
After several email exchanges, he said that he would be coming back to Japan for business and asked me to meet him. We agreed to meet on Friday, April 3, 2015.
At the time, I was working as an intern at Reuters. I had to work late, and ended up being late for my meeting with Mr. Yamaguchi. When I called, he reassured me and told me that he would go ahead and start eating without me. This conversation led me to believe that someone else was joining us, as I had never met him alone before.
That night, he was already eating at one of his favorite restaurants, a kushiyaki place in Ebisu. I had 5 brochettes, two glasses of beer, and a glass of wine. At the restaurant, he made small talk and didn’t discuss the visa, which was supposed to be the objective of our meeting. He said, “There are other restaurants I need to pop by in Ebisu. I’ve made a reservation for the next restaurant, where I want to have a proper meal. Let’s have a quick bite here, and go to the next place together.” The next place was another one of his favorite restaurants, this time a sushi place.
At the sushi restaurant, he said, “I’ve heard good things about you and want to work with you.” An hour or so after we had arrived at the second restaurant, I suddenly felt dizzy and went to the bathroom, it was my second time to go to the bath room at this place. The last thing I remember is leaning my head against the water tank. I don’t remember anything else after that. As far as I can remember, I shared two servings of sake with him at the sushi restaurant. Prior to this incident, I had never lost my memory from drinking alcohol.
Investigators later told me that I left the sushi restaurant with Mr. Yamaguchi around 11PM. He apparently took me to a hotel in Minato Ward. According to the taxi driver who drove us to the hotel, I repeatedly asked to be dropped off at the nearest station. But Mr. Yamaguchi said, “Don’t worry, I won’t do anything. We’ll just talk about work,” and instructed the driver to head to the hotel. According to the driver’s testimony, I wasn’t able to get out of the taxi on my own, so Mr. Yamaguchi had to carry me. This scene was recorded on the hotel’s security camera. I plan to submit these testimonies and evidence to the Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution.
At 5AM the next morning, I regained consciousness. I was lying naked in a hotel bed, face up with Mr. Yamaguchi on top of me. I will refrain from providing explicit details, but what I can say is that a sexual act was committed against me, unrelated to my will, against my will.
After the Incident
Several hours after the incident, I went to see a gynecologist in my neighborhood. Mr. Yamaguchi had not used any contraception, and I did not know what do. As soon as I entered the consultation room, the gynecologist asked, “What time did you make the mistake?” without even looking at me. I was then given a pill and told to take it outside. That was it. I could not bring myself to explain my situation to someone so mechanical. So I decided to call a nonprofit that supported victims of sexual violence, hopeful for an introduction to another medical facility.
However, the person who took the call said, “I would like to interview you first.” I was devastated. I barely had the strength to get up from my bed, and had called in desperation. But the first word I heard from this organization was “interview.” I’m certain that other victims with similar experiences would be deprived of any will power at this point. What is critical at this stage is not an interview, but an introduction to a medical institution for an examination.
At first, the police would not let me file a report. Investigators repeatedly tried to convince me not to file and said things like, “This kind of thing happens often, but it’s difficult to investigate these cases;” “This will affect your career;” “You won’t be able to work in this industry after this;” and “All the effort you’ve made so far in your life will go to waste.”
I pleaded investigators to check the footage from the hotel’s security camera, and that by doing so, they would see that I was telling the truth. When they finally did check the footage, they agreed to handle this incident as a case and start investigating.
On June 8, 2015, several investigators were waiting for Mr. Yamaguchi at Narita Airport. Equipped with an arrest warrant, they were going to arrest him upon his arrival in Japan on charges of incapacitated rape. However, this arrest warrant was never executed.
At the time, I was in Germany for work. Immediately prior to the scheduled arrest, one of the investigators had contacted me to say, “We’re going to arrest him. Please return to Japan immediately.” So I was preparing to come back when I received another call from the investigator. Even now, I have vivid recollections of this call: “He just passed right in front of me, but I received orders from above to not make the arrest,” “I’m going to have to leave the investigation.”
Why did this happen? Surprisingly, the then-Chief Detective had ordered the arrest to be called off. In an interview with Shukan Shincho, this Chief Detective admitted that he had “given orders to cancel the arrest.”
Japanese laws do not protect us. The investigation agency has the authority to suppress its own arrest warrants. I will never forget the sense of helplessness I felt that day.
After the incident at the airport, the police sent criminal papers to Mr. Yamaguchi on charges of incapacitated rape. But on August 2, 2016, the prosecution decided to drop charges against Mr. Yamaguchi due to insufficient suspicion. This process took over 1 year and 4 months. The investigations revealed evidence of me being dragged into the hotel through testimonies from the taxi driver and the hotel bellman, as well as footage from the security camera. DNA test results also provided additional evidence. I could not accept the case being dropped, and conducted my own inquiries. And today, I finally made an appeal to the Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution.
I want to ask a question to all people living in Japan. Are we really going to continue to let this happen?
For the past two years, I often wondered why I was still alive. The act of rape killed me from the inside. Rape is murder of the soul. Only my body was left, and I was overwhelmed by the feeling that I had become a shell.
After the incident, I concentrated on seeking the truth as a journalist. I had no other choice. I felt like I would be mentally crushed if I considered myself a victim. Focusing on work was a way for me to protect myself.
I then came across a photo documentary of rape victims and their families by Mary F. Calvert in a World Press Photo exhibit. In the exhibit, there was a diary of a woman who had been raped. In this diary, there was a drawing of wrist cutting, accompanied by a message that said, “If only it was this easy.” In the end, this woman killed herself.
I understand this woman’s pain. She doesn’t exist in this world anymore, but I witnessed those photos and received her message. And this is what I thought: “I have to reveal the horror of rape and the enormous impact it has on the victim’s life.”
Becoming a rape victim myself made me realized just how small our voices are, and how difficult it is to have our voices heard in society. At the same time, I recognized the need to face this issue as a journalist. If I hadn’t been a journalist, I may have given up. I know there are countless women who have gone through the same experience, leaving them hurt and crushed. I know that, both in the past and still today, many of these women have given up.
How many media outlets have published this story? When I saw Mr. Yamaguchi repeatedly broadcasting his side of the story through his powerful connections, I couldn’t breathe. Where is the freedom of speech in this country? What are the laws and media trying to protect, and from whom? That is the question I want to ask.
I have travelled to over 60 countries, and have been asked if I have ever been in a dangerous situation. My travels have included interviewing the guerrilla in Columbia, going to the cocaine jungle in Peru, and other areas that would be considered dangerous. But I am sad to say that the only time I actually encountered real danger was in Japan, my homeland, which is considered a safe country. I wholeheartedly wish that no one else has to experience what I went through.
This could happen to you, your family, your friends – it could happen to anyone. If we remain silent and ignore this opportunity to change the legal and investigation systems, each and every one of us will be approving these crimes to continue.
That is all from me. Once again, thank you for your time.
Chronological order of events:
April 3, 2015 Met Mr. Yamaguchi
20:00 Entered kushiyaki restaurant
21:40 Entered sushi restaurant
April 4, 2015 5:00 Woke up in pain and realized that I had been raped. Memory
lost half way in sushi restaurant
April 9, 2015 Consulted Harajuku Police Station
April 11, 2015 Interview with lieutenant from Takanawa Police Station
(currently at Metropolitan Police Headquarters) at Harajuku Police Station
April 15, 2015 Watched security camera footage with aforementioned
lieutenant at Sheraton Miyako Hotel
April 30, 2015 Filed criminal complaint at Takanawa Police Station
Beginning of June 2015 Collected evidence such as: testimony from taxi driver,
testimony from hotel bellman, investigation results from DNA sample collected from underwear. Arrest warrant issued. (Due to the possibility of the rape being filmed, confiscation of Mr.
Yamaguchi’s computer was also a requirement)
June 4, 2015 Informed about the scheduled arrest of the accused upon his
return to Japan at Narita Airport; requested to return from Germany
June 8, 2015
Informed by lieutenant that he had gone to the airport, but that the arrest had been cancelled due to orders from above. Also informed that the lieutenant had been relieved from this case. Subsequently, the case was transferred from the Takanawa Police Station to the First Section of the Metropolitan Police Department
August 26, 2015 Criminal papers sent to Mr. Yamaguchi
October 2015 My first interview with prosecutor
January 2016 Mr. Yamaguchi’s interview with prosecutor
June 2016 My second interview with prosecutor
July 22, 2016 Charges dropped against Mr. Yamaguchi
Editor’s note: Mr. Yamaguchi has categorically denied all charges and his rebuttal can be read on his Facebook page and in the article linked above. This was originally published on June 18th, 2017 and was slightly updated on October 24th.
Welcome to our semi-annual pledge drive. Japan Subculture Research Center (@japankenkyu) was founded in 2007 by Jake Adelstein and many contributors to expose the hidden side of Japan – its underground economy, its transient and strange trends, its robust sex trade, wacky politics, corruption, social issues, many subcultures, yakuza, host clubs and hosts, Japanese cinema and all the other intriguing and seedy aspects that keep the country running. Balancing commentary, reporting and dark humor–we’re the kakekomitera (駆け込み寺) aka “last resort” of some news stories that no one else will touch. We’ve covered rebel graffiti artists, crusading lawyers, and some real heroes.
We would like this summer to support two interns so that we can post more original material and also revamp the layout. We’d like to add a current events section, more book reviews, more informative and provocative essays about Japan, and fund some investigative journalism. Ambitious yes, but we have lofty goals here at JSRC. Please read our manifesto: If you love Japan, make it better. Our mission statement.
Meanwhile, as part of this year’s pledge drive, we are giving away to the lucky two readers who donates before Thursday (drawing by lottery) free tickets to to see Shoplifters with English subtitles and a Q & A, by the director Hirokazu Kore-eda. Your contributions are greatly appreciated, however small or large.
If your motto in life is “one good deed a day” (一日一善）, here’s your chance to get those good karma points.
“I think that the reason the general public identified with the roles I played, was that they were struck by my stance as a man who unrelentingly stands up to absurd injustices. It wasn’t just that I was just going off to a sword fight, but that my character was willing to sacrifice himself in order to protect the people important to him.”–Ken Takakura, August 2013
In honour of Japan’s Celebration of Cinema Day, December 1st, we’ve reposted some reviews and articles on classic films. Some good, some bad, some epic. This was originally published shortly before his death.
Japan’s best actor Ken Takakura has died of lymphoma, at age 83. The actor passed away at a Tokyo hospital on 10 November, his office said on Tuesday. He has been called the “Clint Eastwood” of Japan. Takakura was renowned for his stoic roles in scores of action films and yakuza movies–he was also adept at playing tough but caring men, clumsy in expressing their emotions. He played alongside Robert Mitchum in Paul Schrader directed film, The Yakuza in 1973. He also starred as a by-the-book, honourable and ultimately brave Japanese police officer alongside US actor Michael Douglas in the 1989 Ridley Scott film Black Rain. One of his lines in the movie, probably inspired millions of Japanese men to later study English conversation: “(I’m ) Assistant Inspector Matsumoto Masahiro, Criminal Investigation section, Osaka Prefecture police. And I do speak fucking English.”
Mr. Schrader told me in March of 2011 that Takakura was one of the most impressive actors he’d ever worked with and that his Kendo (Japanese fencing) ability seemed top-notch. He had once offered Takakura the role of Yukio Mishima, the literary genius turned right wing extremist, in his bio-pic film Mishima and Takakura had seriously considered it. However, in the end for reasons he only obliquely hinted at, he politely declined the role. The film Mishima has never been shown in a film festival in Japan.
Among his well-known films were “The Yellow Handkerchief”. He won the best actor prize at the Montreal World Film Festival for “Poppoya” (The Railway Man). He also appeared in some the final “real-life” yakuza bio-pics including 3rd Generation Leader of The Yamaguchi-gumi. During the filming, the former head of the Yamaguchi-gumi, Kazuo Taoka, actually visited the set and spoke with Takakura. Ken Takakura was the consummate professional and even in supporting roles such as in Mr. Baseball, he brought dignity to the Japanese characters that seemed to embody many of Japan’s virtues.
In August of last year, we were able to interview him via FAX and his polite and short responses give a good sense of the man. They are here in both English and Japanese.
originally posted on January 31st 2014
Ken Takakura, 82, aka “the Alain Delon of Japanese cinema” was awarded one of Japan’s greatest honors on November 3rd 2012. The Order of Culture was given to him by the Japanese Emperor at a ceremony held at the imperial palace. Four other notable people, such as researchers and literature academics also received the award.
Known as to be very quiet and tough, Ken Takakura (高倉健氏） rarely gave interviews to the media throughout his career. He is known for having stayed silent nearly for 13 seconds (a record for Japanese TV programs) after a famous television caster asked him a question that he did not want to answer. “In Japanese show business, only a tough and well respected celebrity is able to stay silent during a live show and have that tolerated by the producer,” explained a newscaster for one of Japan’s largest broadcasters.
Ken Takakura became an icon of the so-called ninkyou eiga, (任侠映画) or yakuza chivalry movie, inaugurated in 1963 by Toei Production. In the 1960s, as Japan was still recovering from its lost war and musing over the the atomic bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the Japanese audience wanted to see heroes in the black market making justice in the streets and feeding the dismissed hungry people, right after the war. The movie that kick started his career was Abashiri Prison. He also gained international recognition with the war movie Too Late The Hero, in 1970, and The Yakuza, in 1975. His role in Black Rain with Michael Douglas 1989, made him even more well-known in the West.
Takakura-sama, agreed to answer few questions for JSRC. We carefully translated it and have posted the entire interview. We are also posting it in Japanese, for our Japanese readers.
Interview with Ken Takakura, in August 2013
JSRC: At present, many film fans in the world see you as the personification of the yakuza on screen, almost a symbol. What are your feelings about this?
Ken Takakura: It’s true that I did many yakuza films in the past, but whether or not I’m a symbol or not, I don’t know. I have done many other roles besides those of a yakuza.
JSRC: What led you to join the world of cinema?
Ken Takakura: I had to make a living.
JSRC: What kinds of movies do you like?
Ken Takakura: As I get older, my tastes changed, but I like movies that pierce the human heart and linger with me.
The Deer Hunter, 1978.
The Godfather 1 & 2.
Posta Pappi Jaakobille (2009).
JSRC: Do you have any interest in the modern yakuza films?
Ken Takakura: None whatsoever.
JSRC: Mr. Takakura, you have been called the Clint Eastwood of Japan, what do you think of that?
Ken Takakura: It’s what someone else thinks, so I have no thoughts on the matter.
JSRC: Why did you leave Toei Production in 1976?
Ken Takakura: There is no short answer (to that question).
JSRC: After leaving Toei, people were able to see you in many different roles? Was that your goal?
Ken Takakura: (My goal) was to meet people.
JSRC: Directors Takeshi Kitano and Miike are said to be geniuses of yakuza film but what do you think?
Ken Takakura: I’ve never worked with either director so I can’t answer.
But the most striking explanation Ken Takakura gave us was worth mentioning here.
Ken Takakura: You seem to be very focussed on the yakuza films I did while at Toei. If you want to understand, why the yakuza films were endorsed by the (Japanese) people, you can’t do it without thinking of the social situation at the time.
When low budget films (picture programs) were at their peak production in Japan, I’d have a schedule where I’d be doing in 4 or 5 films a months. That doesn’t leave much room to really put your heart into a role. But I think that the reason the general public identified with the roles I played, was that they were struck by my stance as a man who unrelentingly stands up to absurd injustices. It wasn’t just that I was just going off to a sword fight, but that my character was willing to sacrifice himself in order to protect the people important to him.
The thing that really changed after achieving independence from Toei was that I could choose which films I wanted to be in. I had my own standards for what films I would act in. Who would I meet? The words and lines written in the script. But the most important thing to me was this: would I be able to like the person I was going to play?*
*Portions of this interview were originally published in a French film magazine
In her support, Kazuo Kasaoka, the leader of the yakuza group, Matsurua-gumi (Kobe), submitted a statement to the court which details the time he spent employed by the head of Burning Production, doing his own dirty work for the firm, he says, and watching the sinister activities of others.
When there is a response from the individuals named in the statement and accused of criminal behavior, we will post it here. The statements made here are the opinions of Mr. Kasaoka and not the views of Japan Subculture Research Center.
A Daily Beast reporter (Jake Adelstein) obtained a copy of the statement and then interviewed Kasaoka to ask him why he would put his neck on the line to testify on the beauty queen’s behalf. One might speculate that Kasaoka is motivated by feelings of revenge because he feels he was ripped off by Suho in their past dealings, but he gives different reasons.
In a document, dated Nov. 13, Kasaoka begins by admitting that he is the leader of a right-wing group and the second-generation leader of the Matsura-gumi, with a criminal record.
“Based on my experience working for the CEO of Burning Productions, the harassment that Ms. Yoshimatsu has received is very similar to what I’ve seen and heard while working there,” the yakuza veteran wrote. “[For example], the threats Taniguchi [the alleged stalker] made to Yoshimatsu, ‘If you don’t work for us, we’ll make sure you can’t get a job in the entertainment industry,’ and the harassment that took place after she refused, such as stalking, the use of the media, bothering her family, applying pressure on sponsors [not to hire her] … I feel outrage that a group of so-called men would band together and bully a woman, and this is why I have come forward to make a statement.”
The rough English translation of the document is below, as reference—it has been augmented with material from a ninety minute interview. The original Japanese was also vague in some areas so we have clarified it to the best of our ability. For the full Japanese statement please click the following link. 笠岡和雄・松浦組長の証言
Statement of Facts
Tokyo District Court
Overview of Personnel
I am the Kazuo Kasaoka, the president of Dai-Nihon Shin-Seikai, and the second leader of Matsuura Gumi.
I have been in the world of Ninkyo-Doh since my early days, and I am not of the respectable “Katagi”(honest living) world. I have a history of arrests and a criminal record, however what I write here are all things that I have seen and heard with my own eyes and ears, it is all true, none of it is fictional. I plead the judge to read my statement without judgement.
Reason for Submission
I heard about the plaintiff Ms. Yoshimatsu and defendant Genichi Taniguchi and the sequence of events leading up to this litigation from the plaintiff ‘s attorney Mr. Norio Nishikawa at his office on October 16th.
I decided to submit my statement since the incident that triggered this litigation, in which Mr. Taniguchi requested and threatened Ms. Yoshimatsu that she will “not be able to work in the entertainment industry unless you sign with us” and the extreme measures he took after she declined the offer such as stalking and pressuring her, is something that overlaps in many ways with what I have experienced through my interactions with Ikuo Suoh, President of Burning Productions. I also feel a strong indignation towards their tactic, a group of grown men bullying one woman, which lead to myself agreeing to submit my statement.
Furthermore, I would like to add that I have not received any kind of reward or honorarium for submitting this statement.
My Personal Standpoint
For 10 years I served as Mr. Suoh’s Yojinbou(bodyguard) by request of Mr. Suoh via a certain person. During those years, I held an office on the 5th floor of a building Mr. Suoh owned and I had a unit in an apartment building in Kantoh as my residence. The direct renter was a monk of a temple who had agreed to sublet the place out to a yakuza like me by request of Mr. Suoh.
After this period, there were unforgivable actions of betrayal towards me taken by Mr. Suoh and since then, I have been condemning his many wrongdoings centered around facts that I saw and heard during my time as his bodyguard on the blog of “Shin Nihon Shinsei-Kai”, the patriotic group I organize.
It should be noted that the relationship between Mr. Suoh and Mr. Genichi Taniguchi is that of a boss and his henchman. This is a widely known fact to anyone in the entertainment industry. I will later elaborate on this but I can say that I have been in a situation that will clearly prove this fact.
Testimonies Related to Litigation
The fact that Mr. Suoh has been using yakuzas
The fact that Mr. Suoh and Mr. Genichi Taniguchi would use the yakuza and extreme right wing parties to intimidate and pressure talents, productions and TV networks if they saw them as insubordinate.
Regarding A, the fact that I was Mr. Suoh’s bodyguard is the most credible evidence. If Mr. Suoh says “I do not know of a man Kazuo Kasaoka, the second generation leader of Matsuura Gumi and have never requested assistance with any matters to him”, I will directly fight him in court, I do not mind, if anything I would wish to do so.
Regarding B, there is an entry on the blog of Dai Nihon Shinsei-kai I wrote, that depicts the scene of when Mr. Suoh ordered Mr. Genichi Taniguchi to “erase (Miki Mizuno an actress) from the industry”
“Erase Miki Mizuno” Mr. Suoh’s Orders to Mr. Genichi Taniguchi
(Quote from Dai Nihon Shinsei-kai Blog)
Suoh: “(Kasaoka) President, is there any way you could destroy this website? I must kill it now that these things are written up so shamelessly.”
Kasaoka(Note:Stater):”What do you mean please kill it, Boss? You can’t say those things in vain to people in our business, we’ll take it the wrong way, you know?”
President Suoh was quiet again.
Suoh:”Erase her from the entertainment industry, please make Miki Mizuno disappear.”
Suoh:”No, President. If Mizuno decided to become independent, Burning will lose face. I don’t care how much money it takes, please destroy her. Please. Erase her.”
Kasaoka:”Boss, you better not use words like kill or erase.”
I warned him.
After that, Kasaoka mediated the reconciliation between Suoh and the counterpart(Note:Miki Mizuno) but Kasaoka having being concerned, recorded the conversation.
The events that followed after the talk, with only Suoh left in the room, was also caught on tape.
Suoh:”Taniguchi(K-Dash), call the producers of all the networks right now, notify all of them that they are not to use Miki Mizuno under any circumstance! No project, show, paper, none. Tell them if they disobey, we will take away any talent belonging to the Burning Group from their networks, erase them! Tell them we’ll send in propaganda vehicles and the right wings!” (end of quote).
This is the content of the Dai Nihon Shinsei-kai blog entry, that recalls the scene when I as a bodyguard of Suoh, received direct orders from Suoh himself, to erase Miki Mizuno who was his ex-mistress and a former actress at Burning Productions.
I decided to mediate between the two parties, while calming Mr. Suoh down, who was excited and blurting out abnormal things such as “please kill her” “please erase her”. Superficially Mr. Suoh accepted my persuasion and reconciled on the condition that Miki Mizuno, his ex-mistress, would not expose his secrets to the world.
However, Mr. Suoh only pretended to reconcile and he notified producers at each network that “Miki Mizuno is not to be used” through his orders to Mr. Taniguchi.
This is a base betrayal that disgraces myself and all involved parties. He could not take actions himself to keep up his appearances towards me, so he made orders to Mr. Taniguchi. This means that Mr. Suoh and Mr. Taniguchi are acting as one and that the producers at each network cannot go against orders from Mr. Taniguchi such as “don’t use this or that talent” when they know it is coming directly from Mr. Suoh.
Next is the reason why Mr. Suoh was afraid of Miki Mizuno. The reason is that she knew secrets of Mr. Suoh that he was terrified of the world finding out. I will quote furthermore from the Dai Nihon Shinsei-kai blog about the outcome of Mr. Suoh ignoring the conditions of the reconciliation and ordering Mr. Taniguchi to notify the network producers “ not to use Miki Mizuno”. Once you have read this, you will understand why Mr. Suoh was so intent on banishing one actress from the entire industry and medias.
The Reason Ikuo Suoh Ordered the Banishment of Miki Mizuno
From Dai Nihon Shinsei-kai Blog
⚫︎Exposing drugged SEX! The misplaced rage and abomination of Suoh ordering the “banishment” of ex-mistress Miki Mizuno!
There was a revealing statement from ex-mistress that exposed Ikuo Suoh himself as a regular user of drugs. Actress Miki Mizuno, was formerly signed with Burning Productions.
She exposed Suoh and the malicious sex he would have using drugs that she experienced as his mistress on a website run by writer Manabu Miyazaki.
This was a remark she made during a round table talk between Miyazaki, Takagi and Mizuno. Suoh was enraged once he read the talk once it became an article. He came to President Kasaoka, who was in charge of solving any of his altercations at the time, begging him in his deranged state to “please erase Miki Mizuno from this industry, no, kill her!”
After all, a direct testimonial from Mizuno his ex-mistress was made public on the internet. Suoh’s panic is understandable but the request to “erase Mizuno” was rather unsettling. Moreover, Suoh having lost face, would become white as a sheet every time Miki Mizuno appeared on TV and would act in an unmanly and undignified manner such as taking his anger out on his entourage. Losing control over an exposition from an ex-mistress is unfit behavior for a man known as the “Don”(boss) of the entertainment world. Suoh himself should have accepted this as a lesson in life and kept stories between the sheets to himself but in deranged state of anger, his actions caused even more problems of more magnitude. Especially in the world of men, and the world of Ninkyo(way of the yakuza), it would never be acceptable for people to be betrayed and made such fools of by this double faced Suoh. I would like to make it clear that this is the extent of frivolousness that has been displayed time and again by this man.
⚫︎ The battle between Suoh, who betrayed all of his firm promises with President Kasaoka, and Nishiwaki Gumi who was enraged by his actions, declaring revenge! “Battle Without Honor or Humanity” was thus started!
There are many in the entertainment industry who hold grudges against Mr. Suoh for the way he ruthlessly climbed to the top of the industry. Kasaoka President was summoned to serve as his bodyguard by request of the Big Boss’ wife in Kantoh. He would try to see things in his favor. However, after Mr. Suoh went against every condition that was agreed upon when reconciling with Miki Mizuno, President Kasaoka had very little patience for the man. The sequence of events are as follows.
After the separation with Burning Productions, Miki Mizuno was side-lined from the industry for a while and laying low until she was taken under the wing of Nishiwaki Gumi in Kansai. Perhaps Mizuno was encouraged to make these expositions with the intense presence of those backing her up. Being on amicable terms with the Nishiwaki Gumi, President Kasaoka was chosen as the best mediator and after further discussion with Manabu Miyazaki who was the spokesperson, they concluded as follows. According to President Kasaoka, “Mizuno was side-lined from the industry once but was now independently back on her feet and it’s too late to erase her from the industry. However, her side of the deal was that going forward, she would never speak out about Suoh’s secrets including the fact that she was his mistress.” This was Mizuno’s proposal. After hearing these conditions Suoh accepted saying “he understood” and gave his word to President Kasaoka.
Nevertheless, Suoh’s words were makeshift lies. Unable to contain his wrath, Suoh called upon Taniguchi from K-Dash, a group company of Burning, to destroy Miki Mizuno by threatening producers at various TV networks.
“I won’t allow hiring Miki Mizuno on any of your shows!”.
This incident was naturally leaked by the producers who were tired of Suoh’s crude threats. The entertainment industry is a small world. One of the President members of Nishiwaki Gumi, Yamashita had always supported Miki Mizuno and he showed his disgust and rage towards Suoh breaking his word. Yamashita howled “This is not a joke. I will make Taniguchi regret! I will let him know that a man’s word is worth more than his life!”.
This threat took Suoh by surprise and scared him immensely. Suoh would not stand a chance against the Nishiwaki Gumi, widely known as the gang of alpha male warriors within the Yamaguchi Gumi, if they targeted him.
Hearing reverse orders such as “Destroy Suoh! Erase him from the industry!”, Suoh, with no Boss on his side left, came back to Suoh with his tearful apologies.
President Kasaoka, pitying Suoh who begged “They will kill me. Please stop them with your power”, brushed aside his doubts and warned Suoh once again.
“Look, never go after Miki Mizuno again. Let Taniguchi too”. He made sure Suoh understood and was completely under control.
“I understand. I will forgive Mizuno, I truly will this time “
President Kasaoka believed his words and notified Yamashita who was preparing an attack on Suoh. Yamashita stepped away since he could not go against the President’s mediation, and the conflict was resolved. However, after a while, attacks against Miki Mizuno to erase her from the industry was still very much alive, in forms of discreet threats to the TV networks.
President Kasaoka let out a deep sigh, after recalling the intense rage against Suoh’s repeated betrayals and how he came to sever their relationship.
“No matter how far we go, Suoh’s traitor mentality will not be cured. Nevertheless, this is the last warning”.
Ikuo Suoh, take in and reflect upon these words of the President.
Suoh is a pitiful man, indulging in drugged up sex with his mistress, becoming hysterical over an online expose article, running from the hands of Nishiwaki Gumi in fear of revenge like a coward, begging help from ones that he has already betrayed once, then repeating it all over again. His life will end in a lonesome tragedy! The amount of drugs(Cocaine, Heroine, Crack) that permeated the entertainment industry over the last 20 years is unfathomable. Ikuo Suoh has committed an unforgivable crime for polluting this industry with drugs.
One prominent example is that Suoh’s group initiated the induction of drugs at concert halls. I will warn repeatedly that Suoh must pay himself, for the sin of spreading drug abuse in the industry!
“Dai Nihon Shinsei-kai” Press Department
Neither Mr. Suoh or Mr. Taniguchi have the means to sue, protest or explain themselves to defend themselves against the condemnations and criticisms I have made public to the world on the internet.
They cannot do so since all these things are based on facts.
Mr. Genichi Taniguchi was able to carry out such actions toward Ms. Yoshimatsu as a result of the two of them using any means, including the yakuza, to make their way to the top of this small industry. They used the K-1 producer and promoter Mr. Noriyoshi Ishii to bring Ms. Yoshimatsu to Mr. Suoh’s office, introducing him as the man who “decides the rules of the industry”. They promised her support for going independent, in return requesting her to belong under the umbrella of Mr. Suoh and Mr. Taniguchi’s group, forcing her to see Mr. Taniguchi, which is simply put, a threat. A normal person would be intimidated by Mr. Ishii’s looks and physicality alone and be pressured to listen to his demands.
I was also used by them for a period of time.
It may come across as an excuse but the entertainment industry will never see the end to altercations with the local yakuza regarding profit. When I was requested to be the bodyguard, I initially thought that I would serve as the fixer for yakuza issues. In actuality, Suoh asked me to work for him after the shootings targeting him, which later turned out to be staged by nobody but Suoh himself. I did not for a second imagine that I would be asked to “destroy” or “kill” an actress when I first took the job.
“Join our group, otherwise we will side-line you from the industry”. This kind of statement would only come out of their mouths because they were full of themselves, and arrogant enough to think they were the ones to define the rules of this industry.
I strongly believe that the court should rule in favor of Ms. Yoshimatsu, so that they will no longer be able to put pressure on or prevent Ms. Yoshimatsu from enjoying a successful career in the entertainment industry. I believe this because from my own experience I can say, that as long as there are people like Mr. Taniguchi and Mr. Suoh allowed to stay in power in the industry and the media, things may temporarily seem to calm down but Ms. Yoshimatsu’s career in the Japanese entertainment industry will suffer from their obstruction in the future again.
Furthermore, I hope that there will be a severe ruling brought upon Mr. Genichi Taniguchi who has abused the power of Mr. Suoh “the Don of the industry”, manipulating many yakuzas including myself with no integrity whatsoever. This is because people like Mr. Suoh and Mr. Taniguchi are the ones that prevent the healthy growth of the Japanese entertainment industry and interfere with the truly talented young people pursuing their full potential.
I do not have much longer in this life, and I agreed to submit this statement as my final act of service to Japan, the country I love.